A giant in every sense, never gave up: VVS Laxman pays tribute to Anil Kumble

Written by Vishwas Gupta

India’s highest wicket-taker in both ODIs and Tests, a former Test captain, a former head coach – not many in world cricket can boast about similar credentials, let alone in Indian cricket, like Anil Kumble. If Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman were known as the fav-four of the Indian team then Kumble was undoubtedly the fifth one in that list of greats. Remembering Kumble’s outstanding achievements in the cricket field, former India batsman Laxman lauded the leg-spinner, terming him a ‘giant in every sense’.

Laxman, who on Sunday revealed that he would pay tribute to some of India’s legendary cricketers he has played with, started the series by paying tribute to Sachin Tendulkar. And on Monday, Laxman picked Anil Kumble.

Recalling the India vs West Indies Test match at Antigua in 2002, Laxman posted a picture of Indian cricketers celebrating with Kumble in which the leg-spinner played with a broken jaw in.

“A giant in every sense, he rose above and beyond the call of duty. The grit, drive and bravery displayed through this picture is quintessential Anil Kumble. Never giving up, no matter what, was a trait which made Anil the cricketer he became,” tweeted Laxman.

In that 2002 Test, Kumble was struck by a vicious bouncer from Mervyn Dillon and suffered from a broken jaw. However, despite being in excruciating pain, Kumble ended up bowling 14 consecutive overs and finished with figures of 14-5-29-1. He had dismissed Brian Lara by trapping the legendary left-hander in front of the stumps.

Riding on centuries of VVS Laxman, Ajay Ratra and fifties from Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid, India had scored 513/9 dcl. In reply, West Indies put on 629/9 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Carl Hooper and Ridley Jacobs scoring centuries. The match had ended in a pale draw but Kumble’s courageous act was remembered by many.

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Vishwas Gupta