Australia v India 2007-08 / Stats Analysis

Anil Kumble takes No. 600

India's champion bowler

A statistical look at Anil Kumble's Test bowling career

Mathew Varghese

January 17, 2008

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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.

Anil Kumble's Test bowling record
Matches Overs Wickets Average Strike-rate 5WI 10WM
124 6416.0 600 28.67 64.1 35 8

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.

Kumble's journey to 600 wickets
Wicket no. Tests No. of Tests needed by Warne
100 21 23
200 47 42
300 66 63
400 85 92
500 105 108
600 124 126

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.

Kumble's contribution in India's wickets
Record Wickets Average
India overall 1960 33.94
Kumble's share 600 28.67
India at home 977 29.98
Kumble's share 343 23.85

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's record by match result
Result Matches Wickets Average Strike-rate
Won 41 279 18.41 44.1
Lost 30 120 39.76 79.8
Drawn 52 200 36.34 82.8

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.

Leading Indian wicket-takers in wins
Player Matches Wickets Average Strike-rate
Anil Kumble 41 279 18.41 44.1
Harbhajan Singh 25 131 21.08 49.4
Bhagwat Chandrasekhar 14 98 19.27 45.4
Bishan Bedi 17 97 17.65 54.0
Kapil Dev 24 90 18.30 45.2

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.

Best strike-rate among spinners in wins (Min 100 wickets)
Player Matches Wickets Average Strike-rate
Muttiah Muralitharan 46 382 15.20 41.5
Anil Kumble 41 279 18.41 44.1
Stuart MacGill 30 161 24.11 46.3

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.

Kumble home and away
Venue Matches Wickets Average Murali's average Warne's average
Home 59 343 23.85 19.22 26.39
Away 65 257 35.09 25.99 25.50

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.

Kumble by match innings
Innings Wickets Average Strike-rate 5WI
1st 166 32.77 72.6 10
2nd 159 28.85 66.9 8
3rd 185 28.41 60.5 12
4th 90 21.31 50.9 5

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.

Kumble's record before and after England series in 2002*
Matches before Wickets Average Matches after Average
Home 36 210 21.30 23 133 27.89
Away 34 109 40.40 30 147 31.23
In Australia 3 5 90.00 5 39 29.48
In England 4 8 63.00 6 28 35.25
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.

Kumble and Harbhajan in matches played together
Player Wickets Average Strike-rate 5WI 10WM
Anil Kumble 268 26.34 57.7 19 6
Harbhajan Singh 188 31.99 68.5 15 2

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 Cricinfo

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Mathew VargheseClose
Sub-editor (stats) After graduating in Economics from St Xavier's College, Mathew Varghese did a journalism course before joining Cricinfo. Born and brought up in Bombay, Mathew thought hailing from the same city as Sachin Tendulkar would automatically make him inherit some of the genius. Sadly, besides a low grip on the bat handle, he acquired nothing else. He still dreams of being the perfect cricketer - a Bradmanesque batsman who can blend aggression with dour defence; a bowler who can perform the roles of McGrath, Lee and Warne; a fielder in the Jonty class; and a captain-cum-coach with an unprecedented record.
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