Anil Kumble, India's leading Test wicket-taker, is looking to prove his fitness and form as Karnataka take on Railways in the Ranji Trophy season's opener at New Delhi on November 23. The 35-year-old Kumble, with 465 Test wickets from 97 Tests, will be playing in a first-class match after a gap of six years when he steps on to the field at the Karnail Singh Stadium.
The last time the Bangalorean played in a domestic match for Karnataka, excluding limited overs ties and the Duleep Trophy, was in the Ranji Trophy in 1999-2000. Now, coming back from a two-month rest to treat his lower back, Kumble was only too aware of the responsibility that rests on his shoulder.
"It is the start of the season, and it is important to get started on the right note. And I have to contribute towards that," Kumble said on the eve of the match. "I am also coming back after a gap of two months. It will be important for me to get some overs and confidence ahead of the Sri Lanka series."
Kumble's task would not be easy, given the fact that the Karnail Singh track is a slow turner with little help for the bowlers. But the wicket had tended to be of variable bounce frequently, so strokemaking would not be that comfortable as well.