Kumble congratulates the leader of the pack

Published: Sunday, May 9, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:The world record-breaking feat for most Test wickets by Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan has gladdened the heart of Anil Kumble for one key reason more than anything else -- that it has been achieved by a spinner.

"It's been a great achievement for a bowler from Sri Lanka. He (Muralitharan) has been the mainstay for many years. It's good that a spinner has completed that (broke the world record)," Kumble said in Bangalore.

Off-spinner Muralitharan took two wickets for 27 in the second innings against Zimbabwe on Saturday at Harare to reach 521 wickets and pass West Indies' Courtney Walsh, who took 519 wickets.

"I am sure he (Muralitharan) won't stop at 521 wickets. He is probably aiming at 800 wickets or I don't know how many wickets," the 84-Test veteran said. "At the end of the day, it's important that it's one of the spinners who achieved that."

Kumble said he is glad that the record was broken by one of his contemporaries and it's happened in an era where he was a part. "I am happy for him (Muralitharan). He is a good friend of mine, and I wish him all the best."

Asked about the possibilities of an Indian breaking that record, he commented: "It's a long way off. I am close to 400. But he is 521 and is still continuing today."

The 33-year-old leggie is just three wickets away from becoming the first Indian spinner and only the second Indian after Kapil Dev to reach 400 Test scalps. He was the most successful bowler in the recent series against Pakistan, taking 15 wickets from three Tests.

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