India vs England Test Flashback: When Anil Kumble proved England's manager wrong

England toured India for a bilateral series for the first time in eight years at the start of 1993.

Indian team
The Indian team celebrates victory. (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images)
Sampath Bandarupalli

Sr. Statistician

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India and England were part of some exciting Test series during the 1980s and 1990s where the dominating hands kept changing. England defeated India in India during the 1984/85 tour in a closely contested series and India responded by defeating English in their own backyard in 1986. Things turned interestingly when a series in India in 1988 was cancelled after India denied to grant visas to eight England players including their skipper Graham Gooch.

The England skipper troubled the Indian bowlers in the 1990 home series by amassing a record total of 752 runs in just three matches including a triple century at the Lord’s and led his team to a 1-0 series win. England toured India for a bilateral series for the first time in eight years for a 3-match Test series sandwiched between a 7-match ODI series at the start of 1993. India were fresh of a South African tour where they lost Test series 1-0 and the ODI series by 5-2 margin.

England manager’s scouting.

England expected to have a threat from the Indian spinners during the Test series which could be played on turn-assisted tracks. England’s cricket manager for the tour, Keith Fletcher, went to South Africa to closely follow India’s slow bowlers and have an idea about them. Anil Kumble, who played six Test matches till then, was supposed to be India’s biggest weapon having taken nine wickets in the Johannesburg Test including six in an innings.

However, Fletcher, who followed the series, kept down the hype around him saying he didn’t fell that Kumble will be a threat to their team. “I didn’t see him turn a single ball from leg to off. I don’t believe we will have much problem with him,” said the former England leg-spinner. Fletcher did get correct about Kumble as he was not a leg-spinner of leg-breaks.

Rajesh Chauhan, Anil Kumble, and Venkatapathy Raju
Rajesh Chauhan, Anil Kumble, and Venkatapathy Raju. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Kumble’s answer to Fletcher.

England faced one of their biggest embarrassments ever as they were whitewashed in the 3-match Test series. Kumble was the star performer in the series as he finished as the leading wicket-taker and was awarded the man of the series. The leg-spinner bagged 21 wickets in the series with flippers and skiddy deliveries. England bowlers collectively took 28 wickets in the series, only seven more than Kumble. Graeme Hick, an occasional off-spin bowler, was England’s leading wicket-taker with eight wickets.