Will Anil Kumble prove his worth on a foreign soil? This question remains unanswered ever since this genial spinner made his international debut at the start of this decade. Kumble's strike rate in Test cricket is amazing.
But his detractors always maintain that Kumble can mesmerise his international rivals only on Indian pitches. The statistics of Kumble supports that view quite convincingly.
Yes, Kumble has not excelled in Test matches played on foreign venues.Kumble's supporters were of the view that this lanky spinner had never been to Australia where the bouncy pitches would suit Kumble's art perfectly. Kumble did not make India's previous tour to Australia in 1991-92.
So, before the start of the current tour, most experts along with Kumble's fans believed that Kumble would revel on the Australian pitches. Kumble has not done anything extraordinary in the first two Tests. The third and final Test will be played in Sydney from January 2 to 6.Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh did not figure in the Indian team in the Adelaide and Melbourne Tests. In a four-man attack, Kumble was the lone spinner and there was hardly a period in these two Test matches when Kumble played the role of an active bowler. Precisely he played the passive role in both the Test matches and we did not witness the Kumble we know.
In the first Test Kumble took two wickets in the first innings and one in the second. In the Melbourne Test he went wicketless in the first knock and got two in the second.Kumble failed to emerge as a match-winning bowler so far in Australia.
Of course, he played a stellar role in India's win over New South Wales. Is Kumble missing a spinning partner? May be yes. Bowlers like Kumble always need a spinner at the other end to perform as a supporting spinner.
It is unfortunate that Harbhajan Singh did not gain the confidence of the 'think-tank' in this tour and so Kumble had to play a defensive role in both the Test matches. Anyway, that is one side of the argument. The fact remains that Kumble did not underline his match-winning capacity. Now for the Sydney Test, Australia has included off-spinner Colin Miller. Does that suggest that the Sydney pitch would offer assistance to spinners?