Kumble hopes to wrap up win on fourth day
Going past Courtney Walsh in the wicket-takers list is no mean achievement but Anil Kumble is more keen that he help India wrap up the game and complete a memorable triumph, only their fourth win in the West Indies. Speaking to the media after the third day's play in St Lucia, he praised his fellow bowlers for sticking to their task and hoped they would repeat the same to wrap up the win tomorrow.
"After getting 500 wickets, this [passing Walsh] was the next landmark. It feels good to cross such a big player like Courtney Walsh. It's also given us a huge chance to win a Test match. I'm personally looking to win the match. We came very close in the last Test and missed out by one wicket. We have two days so hopefully we should try and get the remaining nine wickets tomorrow - 588 runs in the first innings puts a lot of pressure [on the opposition]."
Kumble, on his third visit to the Caribbean, said that the nature of the pitches was along expected lines. "The pitches are on the slower side. Antigua had a little more bounce. But this was expected - this time around the only main centres we're playing in are Antigua and Jamaica, not too much cricket in St Lucia."
Was there any pressure on him to lead from the front, considering his seniority? "I look at myself as a key member of the side and there is more pressure on me. As a senior member, it's important for me to lead the way and I'm happy it's been so good so far. Munaf Patel and VRV Singh have done really well, bowled in really good areas consistently. It's just a matter of time for VRV to get the results - as long as he keeps consistently bowling in the areas. Irfan [Pathan] bowled really well yesterday and today."
Facing Kumble is a tough enough job, but negotiating him when faced with a daunting total is one heck of a proposition. Added to that, he has a pitch that is showing signs of inconsistency. Daren Ganga, who would probably have to face up to him tomorrow, knows the difficulty that lies ahead. "He is very consistent in his line and bowls very straight," Ganga said when asked how tough it was to face Kumble. "It brings into equation the leg-before, bowled and caught behind. He's different from other legspinners who bowl mainly an off-stump line. His strength is that he makes you play more and bowlers [like Kumble] who don't turn much are more difficult than those who turn big, especially on tracks that are inconsistent."
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo