'I wanted to do my best before leaving for home'

Published: Monday, May 13, 2002, 16:54 [IST]
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St John's (Antigua): Top Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble said on Sunday he had decided to bowl with a fractured jaw because he did not want to return home without putting in his best effort for the team.

"At least, I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best," said Kumble, who returned to bowl despite the injury in the closing session of the third day of the fourth Test against the West Indies. The 31-year-old spinner, struck on the jaw by a lifting ball from fast bowler Mervyn Dillon while batting on Saturday, dismissed Brian Lara for four on way to an impressive 1-29 off 14 overs. "I knew I had to go back home because of the injury. So I thought of giving my last effort. I thought if it worked, it was good for me. It was pretty tough, but I just wanted to try. This was my best chance," he said. "I didn't want to sit around. I wanted to try. It was OK for the first couple of overs, so I continued.

If it was really bad, I'd have come off." The spinner said he was determined to do well after having done little of note in his only Test innings before this match. "Personally, it was a very disappointing tour for me. I had come to the West Indies with high hopes and expectations, but I couldn't make it to the squad in Trinidad and Barbados," he said. "I thought I had a chance here because outside India I never had a chance to bowl with 500-plus on the board," Kumble explained. "I was nervous the first time I was going on to the field after the injury. I didn't feel any pain while bowling, but I did at the end of the match," he said.

"I was beginning to cramp up, maybe because of the lack of nutrition or maybe because the adrenaline was pumping up too much." The spinner thanked his doctors for boosting his confidence. "Two doctors from India treated me besides team physio Andrew Leipus. They temporarily tried to keep it (the jaw) in position. The tooth was moving. There was a big crack. "There was a bit of risk, but I thought the risk was worth it. They said, 'No matter what you do, you won't be making it worse.

Even if you do, they're going to cut it open.' That kind of confidence egged me on." Kumble said India would have been in a better position had they got the wicket of skipper Carl Hooper in the last session. "I'd have loved to have Hooper out," he said. "I got him, but it was off a no ball. These things happen in cricket." Hooper was caught by Shiv Das at forward short-leg off a Kumble no ball before making 26 not out. "In all probability, I might be going back. Obviously, I need to get the surgery done. At least, I can go back this evening and think I've given my best," said Kumble.

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