Throwback Tuesday: Kumble’s perfect day at Kotla

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Anil Kumble

Anil Kumble is one of the most prolific individuals to have worn the Indian jersey and to have graced the game of cricket. A player of his calibre inevitably produces that one performance that the world will remember forever and Anil Kumble chose arch rivals Pakistan to produce a spell that will be written in history books forever.

It was Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in the national capital of Delhi. India were playing Pakistan and on the February 7, 1999 Kumble produced a masterclass to be  remembered for ages.

In the Fourth Innings of the test match, Pakistan got off to a fantastic start with Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi giving them a flying start in the chase of 420. At 101-0, as it began to feel like they will take the game away, India’s champion leg spinner rose to the occasion. He wasn’t in any mood to see an India defeat and literally took everything into his own hands. After dismissing the dangerous openers, Pakistan crumbled through the magical fingers of Anil Kumble. Except for some resistance from Wasim Akram, no batsman was able to tackle Jumbo, as he is popularly called in the dressing room, as Pakistan were bowled out for 207. Anil Kumble sensationally took all the wickets in the innings as he finished with figures of 10/74.

Kumble was only the second bowler after England’s Jim Laker in 1956 to achieve this feat. Since then, nobody has been able to do so. This in itself reflects how astonishing an achievement it remains to this date. Kumble’s career has had many incredible moments and his overall record hails him as one of the greatest spin bowlers ever but this performance at Kotla will forever remain one of the greatest the sport will ever see. A player of Kumble’s calibre, who is the third highest wicket-taker of all time in Test cricket, is a worth recipient of such a feat because as a bowler he did not always get  the adulation he deserved. The fact that it was Pakistan on the receiving end made it all the more sweeter and one of the more cherished moments, Indian cricket has witnessed.

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