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A statistical look at Anil Kumble's Test bowling career
January 17, 2008
Anil Kumble became only the third bowler to complete 600 Tests wickets when he dismissed Andrew Symonds on the second day of the Perth Test. He follows two of his contemporaries - Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne - in reaching the mark.
It's been an eventful journey for Kumble, one during which he became only the second bowler to complete the Perfect Ten in Tests. He has reached the 600-mark quicker than fellow legspinner Warne.
|Wicket no.||Tests||No. of Tests needed by Warne|
He is by far India's leading wicket-taker, with Kapil Dev a distant second with 434 wickets. In the matches he has played for India, Kumble has taken 600 of the 1960 wickets India have taken, and over a third of the team's wickets at home.
|India at home||977||29.98|
In the 41 matches India have won during his career, Kumble has picked up 279 wickets at 18.41. In draws and defeats the averagehas jumped up to more than 35.
Kumble is by far India's greatest match-winning bowler; his 279 wickets in Indian victories have come at 18.41 apiece. Harbhajan Singh, who is next in line in terms of wickets, has taken less than half that number. Kumble's average in wins is only marginally bettered by Kapil Dev, Bishan Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna among Indian bowlers with at least 50 wickets in wins.
Among spinners, Kumble's strike-rate in matches won is second only to Muralitharan. Muralitharan has a strike-rate of 41.5 in victories, Kumble is second with 44.1, while Warne languishes behind at 51.2. Warne's Australian compatriot Stuart MacGill is third in the list.
Kumble's home record is impressive, with the fourth-best average among spinners with 100 wickets at home; however, it is his away record that is often a point for criticism, especially when compared to the likes of Murali and Warne.
|Venue||Matches||Wickets||Average||Murali's average||Warne's average|
Barring Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, Kumble averages over 30 in overseas countries.
As expected of spinners, Kumble performance improves as the match progresses, with his best coming in the fourth innings of a match.
In the last few years, beginning with India's away series in England in 2002, Kumble has been a much improved bowler overseas, with his away average improving from 40.40 in 34 away Tests preceding the series, to 31.23 in matches since the start of the England series*. That average drops to 29.05 if you exclude the generally high-scoring matches in Pakistan. His averages improve significantly for matches in Australia, England and South Africa. However, the same period has seen a decline in the record at home.
|Matches before||Wickets||Average||Matches afterWickets||Average|
|In South Africa||9||31||35.32||3||14||24.71|
|In West Indies||7||22||34.09||4||23||28.60|
*Stats prior to the Perth Test
Kumble has played a considerable share of his Tests alongside offspinner Harbhajan Singh. The two have been involved in 47 Tests together, with Kumble outdoing his junior partner.
With ten Man-of-the-Match awards and four series prizes, Kumble tops the charts for silverware among Indians; Sachin Tendulkar has also won ten match awards in Tests and both he and Kapil Dev have also four Man-of-the-Series awards. It was perhaps fitting that Rahul Dravid took the catch that gave Kumble his 600th; the Kumble-Dravid combination has been the most successful bowler-fielder partnership (excluding wicketkeepers) for India. Their 54 dismissals is second only to the 65 dismissals by Mahela Jayawardene off Muralitharan.
Stats updated till Kumble's fifth over in Australia's first innings in Perth unless indicated otherwise.
Mathew Varghese is an editorial assistant at CricinfoFeeds: Mathew Varghese
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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