Anil Kumble – India’s desperately most wanted.
India just can’t afford to miss Kumble
By Vimal Kumar

Barely one month is left to the upcoming high-voltage series against Australia and nobody knows exactly – whether India’s strike bowler Anil Kumble will be playing or not. Of course, the reason is Kumble’s  “peculiar injury” – to use Andrew Leipus’s words. Kumble’s unavailability can be a major blow to India’s plan to break the Aussies record-breaking winning-streak.

Needless to say, Indian attack without Anil Kumble will look pedestrian, no matter how much Sourav Ganguly boasts about his pace-attack. The reason is simple that Anil Kumble is the chief-architect of Indian Test victories at home, since 1993.

It would be naive to think that the Kumble-factor won’t be a big deal, just because he was not very successful Down-Under in 1999 against the Aussies. In spite of that, Kumble has a terrific record against the Aussies. Along with the master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s stupendous batting, it was Kumble’s sheer guile with the ball, which proved vital in winning the series in 1998 against the Kangaroos. Also, Kumble had a very good match against the same opposition, when they played a solitary Test at Delhi in 1997.

Australian captain Steve Waugh and champion leg-spinner Shane Warne too have great respect for Kumble. In fact, Warne and Kumble share a very good rapport. Shane Warne was among the first ones to congratulate Anil over his historic ‘10-wicket in an innings’ against the arch-rival Pakistanis. Warne also said that Kumble is one of the “nicest blokes” in the circuit.

Meanwhile, Kumble is presently in South Africa to consult Dr. Ferguson, who has treated him in the past. Eight weeks back, Kumble had already met Ferguson in Bangalore to “discuss” his injury. He has been missing international cricket since last October. He last played in the tri-series at Sharjah.

Without Anil Kumble, we have already seen that how the minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have taken a ride on the Indian attack. Missing Anil Kumble for one of the most crucial Test-Series will be a decisive blow to India’s chances of winning the series against the mighty Australians. Sourav Ganguly must be perturbed on the mere thought of missing Kumble for the upcoming series. For the record, Kumble has taken 276 wickets in 61 Tests that he has played and 274 wickets in 208 One Day Internationals. We can only pray for Kumble’s sooner recovery. And that’s the only thing we can do......!!!

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