‘Kumble dropped a catch and Kapil scolded him on the ground. Later, I found him crying,’ reveals legendary India spinner

'Kumble dropped a catch and Kapil scolded him on the ground. Later, I found him crying,' reveals legendary India spinner

Former India spinner Anil Kumble will go down in history as one of India’s biggest match-winners but the initial few years of his career weren’t the greatest. In 1990, when Kumble was selected in the Indian team, many were against the decision. Different from most spinners, Kumble was tall, did not turn the ball much and focussed on accuracy and variation in speed. But after a lukewarm start, people began questioning his maturity. He was not seen as a great bowler as he hardly turned the ball.

In fact, early in his Test career, Kumble received a rough treatment from the then-India captain Kapil Dev, recalls spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi, during the India vs England Old Trafford Test match in 1990.

Just before tea, Kapil had positioned Kumble him at deep fine leg. He then bowled a bouncer to Allan Lamb and he hooked the ball and it looked like a straightforward catch. Kapil was one wicket away from breaking the world record for most wickets in Test matches… and Kumble dropped the catch.

“It was his first Test match. I was the cricket manager at Old Trafford. Anil dropped the match and Kapil scolded him on the ground. It was his debut and Kapil I guess had played 100 Tests by then. When I went to the dressing room, I found him crying. That might have strengthened him. Shedding tears at that moment was important. It was crucial that he felt bad at that moment for what emerged later,” Bedi said on ‘The Mid Wicket Tales’.

By 1992, Kumble had played two years of international cricket and had gained his foothold. Mentally, he was fully prepared and his skills had improved. 10 years later, in 2002, when Kumble bowled despite a broken jaw and dismissed Brian Lara in a Test match, no one remembered it was the same player whose attitude was questioned early on. Kumble retired from international cricket in 2008 with 965 wickets as the third-highest Test wicket-taker.

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