He doesn't turn the ball; so what!

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 14:54 [IST]
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It's a perennial cribbing that he does not turn the red cherry enough to attain any kind of success in International cricket. Every time he is snaffling wickets by the bundle, the same set of people, who showers plaudits, badmouthed him once a lean run envelops him.

Anil Kumble has endured all this in a hurdle-strewn career ever since he made his debut in 1990. True, he does not turn the ball as much as the likes of Warne, Muralitharan does, but have a look at his accuracy.

He is always at the batsman. His unflapping accuracy coupled with his mental toughness has made him such an accomplished bowler, who notwithstanding his colossal haul of 415 Test sticks, still continues to be one of the low profile heroes of world cricket.

That's actually a tribute to his greatness. He has never been one of those charismatic characters who tom-toms about his feats every now and then.

It's known fact that bowlers in the sub-continent are used to SG balls but in countries like Australia, West Indies, South Africa, England where kookaburra balls are in use, spinners from the sub-continent more often than not find it difficult to make an impact.

The last Australian sojourn was a photo opportunity for Kumble to silence his critics. The odds may well have been heavily stacked against him; yet he pulled off his best to bag 24 wickets in the engrossing four Test series.

Just because Kumble was not at his best in the ODI tourneys preceding the Test series against Australia, critics once again upped their ante saying Kumble was over the hill and has lost the bite in his bowling.

Have a glance at his performance in the two Test matches against Australia so far, one would be put to shame to keep babbling that he does not turn the ball enough to be effective. His 7-37 on a strip, which had plenty of bounce no doubt on the opening day, had little demons to sway the Australians to press the panic button.

Plainly speaking, it was just sheer craft of a master, who's never talked about in the same breath like the Tendulkaras and the Laras. Yet he is a precious gold machine that the country has been quite fortunate to have.

The time has come to put a quick fix on our overly expectant cricket buffs, who resort to cheap slam-bang criticism just because the bowler is going through a quiet run.

How come a bowler who doesn't turn the ball, as his critics would invariably argue, has survived the rigours of world cricket and gone on to take over 400 Test wickets and what's more; threatening to break the elite 500-wicket club if his efforts of late is anything to go by.

Come on, give the leggie a break!

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