Taking all 10 wickets in a Test innings is a rare milestone indeed. New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel achieved the feat last year, becoming only the third bowler in history to finish with 10 plucks. Patel finished with 10/119 from 47.5 overs in Mumbai. Before Patel, it was Anil Kumble was the last man to do so. Legendary Anil Kumble picked up all 10 wickets at the erstwhile Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium against Pakistan. In the second innings of the second Test, he returned with figures of 10 for 74 in 26.3 overs to take India to victory.
It took more than two decades, but another bowler finally joined the club. Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who formed a lethal partnership with Kumble, lavished big praise on his senior. Harbhajan recalled how he was happy despite not getting a single wicket, as Kumble was starting at monumental 10 wickets in a Test innings.
“The Test match was in Delhi when Anil bhai took all 10 wickets. I was also playing that game. For once, I was happy that I didn’t get a single wicket. Getting 10 wickets is massive. Jab 6-7 ho gayi thi tab laga ke wickets mujhey nahi milni chahiye… saari wickets inko [Kumble] ko milni chahiye (When he [Kumble] removed 6-7 batters, I thought I should not get any wickets… they all belonged to him),” Harbhajan told Star Sports in an interaction.
Kumble, who captained India’s Test side in 2007 and 2008, and also was the head coach of the Indian team in 2016-17, continues to be the country’s leading wicket-taker in both Test and ODIs. He is third on the list of all-time highest-wicket takers in the world after Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne with 619 scalps in 132 matches at an average of 29.65.
Harbhajan earlier had bracketed Kumble among the world’s successful bowlers in the longest format of the sport. He had said that the wily leg-spinner could dismiss batters regardless of spin on the ball.
“In my view, Anil bhai was the greatest ever who played for India. He’s probably the greatest match-winner India has ever produced. People used to say he didn’t spin the ball, but he showed that if you had the heart, you could get batsmen out regardless of whether the ball spun or not,” Harbhajan told Sportstar.
“If anyone has half the competitiveness Anil bhai had, he would become a champion. I’m lucky to have played with him for so many years. He was an unbelievably committed player,” he added.