Anil Kumble's stature as a match-winner stands unparalleled in Indian cricket    AFP
Anil Kumble’s stature as a match-winner stands unparalleled in Indian cricket AFP

Born October 17, 1970, Anil Kumble is the former captain of the Indian Test team. Nicknamed Jumbo for his ability to make the ball bounce with subtle variations in pace, Kumble is India s leading wicket-taker in Tests as well as One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Only the fourth Indian to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame , he is the greatest match-winner India have ever produced. On his 46th birthday, Chinmay Jawalekar lists out 10 of his most impactful performances from an illustrious career spanning almost two decades.

1. 6 for 12 against the West Indies at Kolkata, 1993: The venue for this historic performance was Indian cricket s Mecca The Eden Gardens. The stage was also big The final of multi-nation Hero Cup. Playing against the West Indies, India scored 225 from their stipulated overs. When West Indies came out to bat, it was all Kumble show as the leg-spinner rattled their batting line-up in-front of the capacity crowd with the then best bowling performance by an Indian in ODIs. His 6 for 12 won India the game by 102 runs. It remained the best performance until last year when all-rounder Stuart Binny took 6 for 4 against Bangladesh.

2. 11 for 128 against Sri Lanka at Lucknow, 1994: Anil Kumble’s first ten-wicket haul in Test cricket came in the first of the three-match series against Sri Lanka in 1993-94. In the Lucknow Test, which was his 14th Test match, Kumble destroyed the Lankan batting by picking up 11 wickets and helped India win by an innings margin inside four days.

3. 5 for 33 against New Zealand at Wellington in 1994: Another top Kumble performance came when India travelled to New Zealand in March 1994. In the 3rd ODI, India batted first and scored 255 runs. In reply, New Zealand were well placed at 5 for 216, with another 40 runs to win. But Kumble had other ideas. He picked up three of the last five wickets, including the all important ones of Shane Thomson and Adam Parore, and won India the close encounter by 12 runs. He finished the match with figures of 5 for 33 and was duly adjudged the Man of the Match.

4. 4 for 12 against Pakistan at Toronto in 1996: Kumble produced another gem of a performance against the arch rivals Pakistan during the first ever Sahara Cup at Toronto in 1996. Playing first, India were bundled out for a mediocre 191. In reply, Pakistan had a poor start when they lost first three wickets with just 16 runs on the board. Saeed Anwar and Saleem Malik led Pakistan s fightback but Kumble ran through their middle-order and helped India win the low-scoring match by a huge margin of 55 runs. Though he didn t get the Man of the Match award, his four wickets in the middle overs scripted India s win.

5. 4 for 25 against South Africa at Mumbai in 1996: It was the final of the Titan Cup between hosts India and the favourites South Africa. Defending a modest 220, India were led by Kumble’s magical performance of 4 for 25 from his 8.2 overs. His wickets at crucial intervals ensured India s victory and earned his the Man of the Match award.

6. 14 for 149 against Pakistan at Delhi in 1999: In February 1999 at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Kumble got his name etched in history when he became just the second bowler after England s Jim Laker to take all ten wickets in a Test innings. He took all ten Pakistan wickets in the second innings and helped India win the Test by 212 runs. His figures in the innings read 10 for 74 and his overall match figures were 14 for 149. His effort helped India beat Pakistan in a Test match after 19 years.

7. 7 for 159 against England at Headingley in 2002: The Test match would be remembered more for the centuries of India s batting troika Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, but it was Kumble s 4 for 66 in the second innings that led India to a famous win and also helped level the series.

8. 8 for 172 against Pakistan at Multan in 2004: The Test, best remembered for Virender Sehwag s first triple century, was in fact won by Kumble s effort to bowl out Pakistan in the second innings. His 6 for 72 rattled Pakistan and helped India win by a margin of an innings and 52 runs.

9. 13 for 181 against Australia at Chennai in 2004: India were all set to win the Test on the final day before the rain-god intervened and spoiled chances of their victory. Kumble had set-up an Indian win with his timeless performance in the Test match. His 7 for 48 in the first innings saw Australians collapse from 189/2 to 235 all out. In the second innings, his tireless effort of 6 for 133 restricted Australia from setting a massive target. India were eventually set 229 to win and were 19 without loss at the end of day four, but rain washed out day five and India missed out on a memorable win. Nevertheless, his performance earned him the Man of the Match award.

10. 10 for 161 against Pakistan at Kolkata in 2005: Kumble’s 7 for 63 in the second innings at the Eden gardens bowled out Pakistan for 226 on the fifth day. His effort not only helped India win the Test, but also take lead in the series, as India went 1-0 up in the series.

(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with Criclife and CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)