Home > Cricket > Special
The Rediff Special/Harish Kotian in Bangalore
New rules won't affect me: Kumble
July 26, 2005
Anil Kumble will turn 35 on October 17, but that doesn't prevent him from giving his best whether in training or playing in the middle.
Having played 261 One-Day Internationals, the veteran leg-spinner believes the recently-introduced ICC rules in the instant version of the game will not affect him.
"In fact, I feel the new ODI rules won't affect any bowler," he says.
In the new ODI rules there is a provision for substitutions and fielding restrictions, also known as Powerplay.
"Yes, in a way the rules have been tilted a bit in favour of batsmen, but the changes have been made to ensure the game is interesting during the middle overs. It also puts a lot of emphasis on strategies and thinking; on how to use the Powerplay [rule]," he told rediff.com
"I have bowled within the 15 overs in all One-Day Internationals that I have played, so it [the new rules] doesn't make a difference to me," he added.
Kumble, who has represented India in 95 Tests, said the recent conditioning camp in Bangalore was completely different from previous ones, as it involved a lot more practice matches.
"The training camp was pretty tough. It is always good to come into a camp after a long lay-off, work hard and then look ahead to the new season," he said.
The leg-spinner, who jointly holds the record for ten wickets in a Test innings with English off-spinner Jim Laker, said it is worrying that not many young spinners are coming forward to challenge him and team-mates Harbhajan Singh and Murali Karthik.
"Currently, the emphasis is on fast bowling. But there is a spinners' wing and a camp to assist young spinners. However, it is important to assist young spinners and encourage them to bowl on decent wickets which helps spin," he said.
There were question marks over Kumble's ability to bowl India to victory overseas when he was selected for the tour to Australia in 2003-2004, but he answered his critics in grand style, scalping 24 wickets in three Tests and enabling India draw the series.
"Australia was an important series, personally. I was happy I was able to perform and help the team," Kumble said.
Indian batsmen matched the mighty Australians and consistently registered scores of over 400 runs in the series.
"Batsmen put up good scores which didn't happen often in the past and which made things a bit easier for the bowlers," said Kumble, who has 461 Test wickets to his credit.
In the build-up to the 2007 World Cup, the Indian selectors appear to be placing emphasis on youngsters, but Kumble is one player hard to leave out of the ODI side.
He is not looking at playing more Tests and lesser ODIs.
"There is no need to prefer ODIs. Glenn McGrath is 35, a fast bowler; yet he plays in every international match, whether ODI or Test for Australia," Kumble pointed out.
"As long as I keep fit and feel good I will keep bowling," he said.
Indeed, he backs his words with performance. Who can forget that Test in the West Indies in May 2002, when he came out to bowl with a fractured jaw, after being hit by a short, lifting delivery from fast bowler Mervyn Dillon? He then came out to bowl in pain, sent down 14 overs and picked the wicket of Brian Lara.
"In hindsight it was a huge risk, bowling with a broken jaw. But as long as I can bowl, it doesn't matter, even if I am injured," he said, looking back on the incident which won him much applause from the cricketing world.
Kumble is delighted at being named in the ICC Super Series Test squad of 20 players to take on world champions Australia in October.
"It's a good recognition of the hard work that I have put in over the years. It will be good to play a six-day Test against Australia representing the World XI."
"Considering my performance against Australia I thought I had a good chance to be in the squad. Now I am hoping to make it to the shortlist of 12 or 13," he added.
Against Australia, he has taken 88 wickets in 14 Tests at 27.17, with a best of 8 for 141 at Sydney in January 2004.
Age certainly has not affected the leggie. Instead, it has made him more determined and lethal. Since turning 30, he has taken 185 wickets in 34 Tests, with India winning 14 of those games.
His overseas record during the same period is more impressive: 71 wickets in 15 Tests, which saw India win Tests in England, Australia, Pakistan, the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Another 39 wickets will place him in the elite 500 wicket-club. Can he get them?
"It is definitely achievable."
He will be only the third spinner after fellow leg-spinner Shane Warne and Muthiah Muralitharan and the fifth bowler to reach the milestone.