Legendary former Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble is starting a new innings as the coach of Kings XI Punjab. The Chandigarh-based Indian Premier League (IPL) team have decided to give their fans and followers a closer look at the man who picked up 619 Test wickets.
In a brief interview, the former India captain revealed many interesting facts about himself. Among the several questions posed to the great man, one related to sledging. When asked "Have you ever gotten sledged or sledged someone?" the leg-spinner revealed a rather unexpected fact.
"What I have heard is that if you are a friend of Shane Warne, you don't get sledged. So, I was a friend of Shane Warne, so, I didn't get sledged," Kumble recalled.
The friendship between Kumble and Warne may be due to them both being leg-spinners. However, the style that both men had was diametrically opposed. While Warne was known for his flight, drift, and massive amount of spin, Kumble bowled straighter and faster and didn't spin the ball much. Both men still ended up picking more than 600 Test wickets, in case of Warne, above 700.
There were other interesting bits of information also shared by the legendary former cricketer. He confirmed that the name 'Jumbo' was given to him by Navjot Singh Sidhu. The latter has said in the past that he came up with that name due to the steep and discomfiting bounce that Sidhu got while bowling to him in a domestic match.
When asked to recall his best cricket memory, Kumble said that playing for India in itself is a great achievement but also mentioned the only international hundred that he scored – against England in 2007.
Now that the former Indian captain has taken over the Kings XI side as the coach, he has his job cut out. The Punjab team are probably the most underachieving side in IPL history, alongside Royal Challengers Bangalore. Despite chopping and changing personnel, things haven't worked out for the team.
Anil Kumble, who has been coach of India might be the best man to get the best out of players. He had a reasonably successful stint as India coach before relations between him and Virat Kohli soured and led to his leaving. It's a subject that Kumble deliberately avoids mentioning. Considering that the Indian team has gone on to be very successful under Virat Kohli's leadership and coaching of Ravi Shastri, few regret the change in command.
However, nobody can doubt the credentials of Kumble and it would be interesting to see whether he could take the Kings' XI side up to the top of IPL.