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Waugh praise for Kumble

Calcutta: Former captain Steve Waugh has warned the Australians against taking Anil Kumble lightly, saying it will be fatal error to underestimate the unassuming leg-spinner.

In his exclusive column for The Herald Sun, an Australian daily, Waugh lauded Kumble as a bowler with “outstanding intuition.”

Impressed with the Indian captain’s performance (5/84) on Day I of the first Test at the MCG, Waugh said he was a clever bowler capable of reading the minds of batsmen well.

“Having played against him many times, I knew never to underestimate Kumble — even though you would never lose any sleep stressing over how to combat his bowling out in the middle.

“His methods are subtle and often most effective when you think you have him under control.

“He possesses outstanding intuition, which enables him to sense complacency or uneasiness from a batsman and in turn he cleverly mixes up his deliveries and angles at the crease,” Waugh wrote in his column.

Analysing his old adversary’s performance, the iconic Australian said the spinner exhibited great artistry while dismissing Phil Jaques and Mike Hussey on Wednesday.

“He tempted Jaques with a flighted delivery that was a well-concealed wrong’un, while Mike Hussey departed to a quicker, flatter wrong’un that beat him for pace.

“Both were clever pieces of artistry from a street-fighter, who for many years has been the benchmark in mental toughness in Indian cricket.”

The former Australia captain felt that this series would be demanding on Kumble as he would play a double role of captain and strike bowler against tough opponents.

“Being the captain, this tour will provide him greatest challenge as his focus will have to be shared and not channelled,” he said.

“It was in the first session that he appeared unsettled when he continually rotated his fielders where the ball has just gone, but as the day evolved he became progressively pro-active and comfortable with the leadership,” Waugh said.

He said playing the Test series against Pakistan would help India during the tour of Australia, who had a cakewalk in the home series versus Sri Lanka.

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