New Delhi:Behind his gentle demeanour, Anil Kumble has been a fierce competitor on the field and it was this determination that helped him surpass Kapil Dev to become India's highest wicket-taker and the third highest in world cricket.
His 619 wickets in 132 Tests at an average of 29.65 and an economy rate of 2.69 speaks for the man, who was hailed by one and all as a gentleman cricketer.
Kumble made his Test debut against England at Manchester in 1990 and picked up three wickets giving 105 runs.
That same year, he made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Sharjah but managed just one wicket.
No one then had perhaps thought that the young man, who made the ball zip through the air rather than hang in it, would go on to become the country's most successful bowler and the second in the game's history to take 10 wickets in a match when he gobbled up all Pakistan wickets in an innings at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground.
The leg-spinner, who has 337 wickets in 271 ODIs at an average of 30.89 and economy rate of 4.30, was the hero of the Hero Cup final in Kolkata against the West Indies when he took six wickets for 12 runs to help India win the title in 1993.
A fighter to the core, Kumble played through with a broken jaw during the trip to the West Indies in 2002.
He has taken wickets against all Test-playing nations and his 269 wickets away as against 350 scalps at home dispels criticism that he was more successful in India than abroad.
The Bangalorean had been most successful against the Aussies, picking up 111 wickets with England being his next favourite tih 92 against it.
The leg-spinner announced his retirement from ODIs after the 2007 World Cup to prolong his Test career and the same year, scored the only century of his Test career, an unbeaten 110 against England at the Oval.
After 18 summers, the 38-year-old 'Jumbo' has finally decided to land leaving behind a void that is as irreplacable as the one left by Shane Warne in the Australian team.