Brother's advice made me a leg-spinner: Kumble

Had his brother Dinesh not advised him to shift from pace bowling to spin, Indian cricket might have missed the service of one of its greatest tweakers.

updated: March 07, 2009 13:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Had his brother Dinesh not advised him to shift from pace bowling to spin, Indian cricket might have missed the service of one of its greatest tweakers - Anil Kumble.

Former skipper Kumble, who retired last year from international cricket, remained an unsung hero for the major part of his playing days, spreading almost two decades and rewrote a number of records during his 18-year-long career.

"I was bowling medium pace but senior cricketers and club cricketers said that I had a suspect action so I had to change my bowling style. And my brother at that point of time suggested me to take up leg spinning. So that's how I became a leg spinner," Kumble revealed at 'Golden Generation' programme on a news channel.

The 38-year-old spin legend said he still recalls the the ten-wicket haul against Pakistan.

On the dusty pitch of Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, the lanky leg-spinner rammed through the entire Pakistan batting line up to become only the second blower, after British Jim Laker, in the history of Test cricket to claim ten wickets in an innings.

"Even if you wake me up in the middle of the night and ask me in which order I got the wickets, I can still tell you," Kumble said.

Kumble, who was considered by many as a perfect team-man, also crossed another Indian bowling great Kapil Dev's record of 435 wickets and became the first Indian to bag 500 Test wickets.

"I think I am someone who only looks at the positive point and not the negative. It's sport and people have chosen me to make those decisions on the field but I have always done that in consultation with the teammates and with other members of the side," said Kumble, who is an engineer by profession.

He still recalls the infamous Down Under tour, which was incidentally his first assignment as India skipper. The series witnessed winds of emotions, cat-fights and inquests.

"It was only one team that was playing with the spirit of the game," Kumble said.

He led by example in Australia, winning a thrilling Perth Test and reaching a monumental figure of 600 Test wickets, a feat achieved by only two others - Australia's Shane Warne and Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.

Kumble took the cricketing fraternity by surprise when he suddenly announced his retirement last year during the Delhi Test against Ricky Ponting's men.

He, however, said he took the decision keeping in mind his body.

"I had to listen to my body and that's something I have always done. It was tough but I kept pushing all these years. I think it was time for me to take into account that my body can't hold up and there was an unfortunate injury during the Test match which hastened my decision.

"It's a great feeling to know that tomorrow I don't need to get up and bowl. It is a good relief and now I want to spend some time with my family and then take a call on what the future holds. I would like to challenge myself in a different space and try and get away for a while but I think I will always be in touch with the game," Kumble said.