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The Year That Was: 2007
Rediff looks back at the highs and lows, the successes and failures, the heroes and villains, the wild and the overblown that made this year.

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Anil Kumble

December 20, 2007

Jumbo strides
The year can be termed as 'to hell and back' as far as Anil Kumble is concerned. There was huge disappointment early on in the year, when India's hasty exit from the World Cup meant that Kumble had, in his illustrious career, featured in five World Cups, and failed to taste success even once.

It was no surprise therefore, that he decided to quit one-day cricket and concentrate only on Tests. Thus, a glorious ODI career spanning 17 years, studded with 337 wickets, came to a disappointing end. The first half of the year was a forgettable one for the ace spinner, but he did come back strong.

On the tour of England, Kumble registered his maiden Test hundred -- 110 not out at the Oval -- and scalped 14 wickets in three Tests. And when Rahul Dravid quit the captaincy following that tour, Anil was sure enough of his attributes to toss his hat in the ring.

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The selectors saw in him the necessary attributes and rewarded him with the captaincy for the series against Pakistan. And Kumble didn't disappoint; his seven wickets in the opening Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla was a game-winning effort and earned him the man-of-the-match award.

India drew the next two Tests to win its first home series in 27 years against their arch rivals, and this ensured Kumble's stint as captain began on a winning note.

If Kumble the captain was slowly coming to the fore, Kumble the bowler was never left behind -- with 18 wickets@26.50, he was the leading wicket-taker on either side in the series.

Off the field, he proved that he was no rubber stamp, famously arguing with the selectors and finally prevailing in his wish that Virender Sehwag be preferred over Aakash Chopra for the tour to Australia, and also making a case for the off-form Dinesh Kartik to be included in the touring party.

A winning captain gets considerable rope; that is the position Kumble finds himself in just now, and as he heads into 2008, he will be hoping that he can maintain the momentum, against the most challenging opposition there is in international cricket.

Spin punch

  • In his only match of the 2007 World Cup he claimed 3 for 38 against Bermuda. Quit ODIs after the disappointment in the West Indies.
  • In August, Kumble scored his maiden Test century (110 not out) in the third match against England at the Oval. It was his 118th Test.
  • Kumble broke a world record when he led India out against Pakistan in the first Test in Delhi. The leg-spinner appeared in 118 Tests before making his captaincy debut, thus making him the most experienced Test player to lead a side. He bettered the record of Steve Waugh, who led Australia for the first time after playing 111 Tests.
  • He has claimed five wickets in an innings 34 times -- exceeded only by Muttiah Muralitharan (62), Shane Warne (37) and Richard Hadlee (36).
  • With 18 wickets at 26.50 runs apiece in the series against Pakistan, he was the leading wicket-taker on either side
  • Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images
    Also read: Will Anil Kumble make a good captain?
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