October 17, 1970, Bangalore, Karnataka
Right hand Bat
No bowler won India more Test matches than Anil Kumble, and there probably hasn't been a harder trier either. Like the great tall wristspinners Bill O'Reilly and his own idol Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Kumble traded the legspinner's proverbial yo-yo for a spear: the ball hacked through the air rather than hanging in it, and came off the pitch with a kick rather than a kink. The method provided him stunning success, particularly on Indian soil, where his deliveries burst like packets of water upon the feeblest hint of a crack.
Kumble's fortitude was proved in Antigua in 2002, when he bandaged his fractured jaw to deliver a stirring spell. His ability to learn and refine his craft was highlighted in the mid-2000s when, after a decade of middling away performances, he influenced memorable wins in Headingley, Adelaide, Multan and Kingston, using an improved googly, bigger sidespin, and more variation in flight and on the crease.
In a brilliant though often downplayed career, Kumble claimed virtually every Indian record. In 1999 in Delhi he swallowed all ten wickets in an innings against Pakistan. In December 2001, on home turf in Bangalore, he became India's first spinner to take 300 Test wickets. A year later, almost to the day, he became the first to do so in one-dayers. In August 2007 at The Oval he went past Glenn McGrath's 563 wickets and chalked up what, judging by the pure ecstasy of his reaction and the dressing room's, was perhaps his most cherished feat of all - a Test century that had been 17 years and 118 matches in the coming. In January 2008 he broke the 600-wicket barrier.
Less than a month after his 37th birthday, he was named India's Test captain for the 2007-08 home series against Pakistan. He went on to win the series, the first home triumph against Pakistan in 27 years, before playing a big role in holding the side together during the controversial tour of Australia; he was also India's leading wicket-taker with 20 in the four Tests there.
His form slipped thereafter and there were calls for him to quit following a wicketless performance in the Bangalore Test against Australia in October 2008. A shoulder injury added fuel to the fire and an upset Kumble reacted sharply, saying he had it in him to continue for a while longer. However, he changed his mind during the Delhi Test and announced his retirement, fittingly at his favourite venue. He finished his career as the third-highest Test wicket-taker (619), behind his great contemporaries Muthiah Muralidaran and Shane Warne.
In 2010 he was elected president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and served a three-year term in that capacity. In 2016, he was appointed head coach of India, but despite achieving a No. 1 ranking in Tests, Kumble was forced to step down after it emerged that India captain Virat Kohli had told BCCI officials that some players were uncomfortable with Kumble's "intimidating" style of man management.
Batting & Fielding