Former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble is considered as one of the greatest match-winners to have ever represented India. He is India’s all-time leading wicket-taker in Test matches and has several other records to his name. Anil Kumble’s 10-wicket-haul against Pakistan is a historic moment in Indian cricket and one of the best in the leg-spinner’s career. His teammate Harbhajan Singh recalled the match and shared an interesting incident.
Pakistan needed to chase 420 runs in the fourth innings of the second test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. They started with a 101-run opening stand between Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi. However, Kumble broke the partnership dismissing Afridi and all came down crashing for Pakistan. The Indian leg-spinner ended up taking all the ten wickets as India won the match by 212 runs. He became only the second bowler in history to take all 10 wickets in a Test-match inning.
In an interaction on Star Sports ahead of Asia Cup 2022, Harbhajan Singh, who was bowling from the other end in the match, expressed that after 6-7 wickets, he felt that Anil Kumble should take all the remaining wickets as well. He said,
“The Test match was in Delhi when Anil bhai took all 10 wickets. I was also playing that game. For once, I was happy that I didn’t get a single wicket. Getting 10 wickets is massive. Jab 6-7 ho gaye thi tab laga ke wickets mujhe nahi milni chahiye… saari wickets inko [Kumble] ko milni chahiye (When he had already taken 6-7 batters, I thought I should not get any wickets… he should get all of them).
Anil Kumble was the greatest ever who played for India: Harbhajan Singh
In one of his earlier interviews, Harbhajan Singh termed Anil Kumble as the “greatest match-winner India has ever produced”. He expressed that the leg-spinner was a committed player, and if anybody had half of his competitiveness, the player would become a champion. Praising Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh said to Sportstar,
“In my view, Anil bhai was the greatest ever who played for India. He’s probably the greatest match-winner India has ever produced. People used to say he didn’t spin the ball, but he showed that if you had the heart, you could get batsmen out regardless of whether the ball spun or not. If anyone has half the competitiveness Anil bhai had, he would become a champion. I’m lucky to have played with him for so many years. He was an unbelievably committed player.”
Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh have played together for India for many years. Anil Kumble finished his career with 956 International wickets for India, while Harbhajan Singh took 711 International wickets across formats.