Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble
Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble celebrates the wicket of Wasim Akrams to complete his 10-wicket haul in the innings. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: February 7 is remembered as a golden day in the history of Indian cricket. Exactly 20 years ago, India leg spinner Anil Kumble bagged all 10 wickets of an innings against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi.

Kumble emulated England’s off-spinner Jim Laker’s 10-wicket haul against Australia in 1956 at Old Trafford. Laker’s spell happened 14 years before Kumble was even born and the record had stood unequalled for 43 years. Many thought that a 10-wicket spell would never ever happen until Kumble stunned the world. Kumble, who is nicknamed ‘Jumbo’, single-handedly destroyed Pakistan to ensure a 212-run victory, and that day came to be known as the ‘Jumbo Moment.’

The spell which is addressed as the ‘Perfect 10’ is the pride Indian cricket too.

It is a moment of pride for Sharjah Cricket Stadium, too, as Kumble had made his international cricket debut on that ground on April 25, 1990 against Sri Lanka in a One-day International match.

Four months after his ODI start, he made his Test debut, and in the ninth year of his career, he produced this dream 10-wicket spell.

43years

Jim Laker’s record for 10-wicket haul stood before Anil Kumble equalled in 1999

Speaking to Gulf News on what he felt about that spell, he said: “I was destined to take 10 wickets that day. Pakistan had to get a 400-plus target to win the match and were hundred odd for no loss at lunch. We had a chat at the dressing room and decided ‘let’s give it a go’ — and I had to put my hands up as I was the senior spinner in the team and Harbhajan (off-spinner Singh) was only three to four Tests old. I just had to keep things tight and once we got (Shahid) Afridi out, things fell into place.”

The way Kumble went about taking those 10 wickets on that afternoon at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground is interesting. Kumble himself has narrated those moments during the many interactions with him. One interesting incident is about how Sachin Tendulkar turned out to be his lucky charm in New Delhi. “Every time Sachin took my sweater and handed it over to the umpire, I was getting a wicket. He was my lucky charm that day,” recalls Kumble.

There are even tales about his Test cap which he once told Gulf News in Australia during the 2015 World Cup. “I got that honour of representing the country for the first time ever in Sharjah for the ODI, and later on I received the Test cap. In fact (Mohammad) Azharuddin gave me this cap. This cap became a bit of a superstition and used it until the fag end of my career. I used the same cap for so many years that it turned from blue to grey.”

On February 7, 1999, none had expected Kumble to produce such a spell as Pakistan openers Saeed Anwar (69) and Shahid Afridi (41) had put on 101 runs for the opening wicket. It all began soon after Kumble had Afridi caught behind by wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia. Although he took the wickets of No. 3 batsman Ijaz Ahmad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Moin Khan and the well-set Anwar in quick succession to reduced Pakistan to 128 for six, one wondered whether a 10-wicket spell would emerge as Saleem Malek and Wasim Akram had put on a 58-run partnership for the seventh wicket.

After Kumble took the wicket of Malek, everyone wanted Kumble to get the full house. Kumble even once revealed that his bowling partner Javagal Srinath bowled a very bad over to ensure that Kumble was given the opportunity to claim the perfect 10. With the fans cheering loudly urging him on, Kumble dismissed Akram and returned with figures of 10 for 74, and the rest is history.

Scorecard

India 1st innings 252
Pakistan 1st innings 172
India 2nd innings 339

Pakistan 2nd innings (target 420)
S. Anwar c Laxman b Kumble 69
S. Afridi c Mongia b Kumble 41
I. Ahmad lbw b Kumble 0
I. Ul-Haq b Kumble 6
M. Yousuf lbw b Kumble 0
M. Khan c Ganguly b Kumble 3
S. Malek b Kumble 15
W. Akram c Laxman b Kumble 37
M. Ahmad c Dravid b Kumble 1
S. Mushtaq lbw b Kumble 0
W. Younis not out 6
Extras: (b15, lb2, nb10, w2) 29
Total: 207 all out (60.3 Overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-101 (Afridi), 2-101 (Ahmed), 3-115 (Ul-Haq), 4-115 (Yousuf), 5-127 (Khan), 6-128 (Anwar), 7-186 (Malik), 8-198 (Ahmed), 9-198 (Mushtaq), 10-207 (Akram)
Bowling: J Srinath 12-2-50-0, BKV Prasad 4-1-15-0, A Kumble 26.3-9-74-10, Harbhajan Singh 18-5-51-0