Kumble bowls with a broken jaw
St John's, 12 May 2002
Kumble sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw. He was due to fly back to Bangalore the following day for surgery, and as he said, "At least I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best.
"It was one of the bravest things I've seen on the field of play," said Viv Richards later.
Batting at No. 7 (Ajay Ratra at No. 8 made a century), Kumble was hit by Merv Dillon. He spat out blood but batted on for another 20 minutes. The series was poised 1-1 and this was the fourth Test. India declared at 513 for 9.
Lesser acts have become legends in the game. Colin Cowdrey's coming out with a broken hand against West Indies in 1963, for example. He didn't have to face a ball, as his partner saved the Test. But it is cited for bravery even ahead of Australian Rick McCosker's batting at No. 10 with a broken jaw, which contributed to his team's victory in the Centenary Test.
Kumble's Test was drawn, West Indies declaring at 629 for 9. His reason for returning to bowl: "I didn't want to sit around" is as fine an example of the self-effacing statement as you will find in cricket.
Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine