Legendary Indian spinner Anil Kumble is a well-known personality in the cricketing world. He is highly regarded as one of the best spin bowlers in the history of the fascinating game. In a glorious 18–year-long international career, Kumble has bowled to some of the best batsmen in world cricket.
The former India captain has enjoyed battles with the likes of Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Jacques Kallis but who does Kumble rate high? Well, the Bengaluru-born has himself revealed the name of that batsman.
During a candid chat with former Zimbabwean cricketer Pommie Mbangwa, Kumble was asked to name the toughest batsman he has bowled to. The former leg-spinner picked West Indies legend Brian Lara as the most challenging batter he has faced.
“There were many batsmen who were very difficult to bowl at. Brian Lara was probably at the top,” said Kumble.
The 49-year-old stated that Lara had four different shots for one delivery and that’s why it was a real challenge to beat the Caribbean maestro.
“He had four different shots to every delivery that you bowled, and that was the biggest challenge, you thought you could beat him, you would get him, but then he would change his shot and sort of tap you through the third man,” added Kumble.
Kumble, who is India’s highest wicket-taker in both Tests (619) and ODIs (337), has had a great battle with Lara. In 14 Test matches that he has played against the left-handed batsman, Kumble got him out five times. It also includes the most famous incident when Kumble dismissed Lara by bowling with a broken jaw in 2002 in Antigua.
Kumble played 132 Tests and 272 ODIs for India, and he also led the Indian team between 2007 and 2008. During the chat with Pommy, the Karnataka stalwart articulated that he was fortunate not to bowl at top-quality batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, and Virender Sehwag.
“Fortunately, most of them were a part of my team. It was very good that I had Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Sehwag – all these guys in the nets rather than thinking in the previous evening that I have to bowl at these guys in a match,” Kumble added further.