“I was a friend of Shane Warne, so Australia didn’t sledge me,” says Anil Kumble

Anil Kumble always did well against Australia whether in India or down under.

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Anil Kumble was one of the most premier leg-spinners in the world of cricket and widely regarded along with Shane Warne and Mushtaq Ahmed in keeping the art of wrist spin alive in the modern era of the game when fast bowlers were the choice for captains all over the world. Kumble made his debut in 1990 in England and became an integral part of the Indian team soon.

On the other side of the globe, Shane Warne took the world with storm after clean bowling Mike Gatting with the ‘ball of the century’ in the 1993 Ashes and since then revived leg-spin in limited-overs cricket. He went on to win the ICC World Cup in 1999 with Australia, winning the Man of the Match awards in semi-finals and finals. Anil Kumble was the highest wicket-taker in the Will World Cup 1996 held in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and picked all ten wickets in a Test innings against Pakistan in Delhi Test in 1999.


Anil Kumble talked about his rivalry with Australia and Shane Warne

Anil Kumble always did well against Australia whether in India or down under. He played 20 Tests against the best team in the world in the late 1990s and 2000s and picked 111 wickets at an average of 30.32 with best bowling figures of 8/141. He ended his career, also against Australia in 2008, with 619 wickets in 132 Tests.

He enjoyed his rivalry with Australia and Shane Warne but mentioned that he was a good friend of the blonde leg-spinner given the same art form they shared. “No, I don’t remember much. What I’ve heard is ‘if you are a friend of Shane Warne, you never get sledged’. I was a friend of Shane Warne, so I didn’t get sledged,” Kumble was quoted as saying by

He said that he loved bowling against Australia because they were the best team at that time in the world and if he did well against them, his abilities were showcased better. “I think as a bowler you’d want to bowl against everyone. It’s a challenge (bowling against each team). But bowling against Australia (I loved the most), because at that time they were the best side international cricket. You would want to showcase what you can do and what you can achieve against the best in the business and that something I took up as a challenge and that’s wonderful to have many battles against the Aussies,” He added.

Kumble also revealed that it was former India opener Navjot Singh Sidhu, who christened him with the nickname of Jumbo and called Javagal Srinath, Harbhajan Singh, and Vinod Kambli as the funniest characters in the team during his playing days.