The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flu to four-hundred fever
- Kumble joins elite club, dedicates milestone to father

Bangalore, Oct. 6: Much as Anil Kumble was hoping Team India would bat on the opening day, today, seizing the best chance of calling the shots against Australia on what could become a minefield at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, destiny willed otherwise.

However, the engineering graduate isn't complaining: with Sourav Ganguly losing the toss, the opportunity to join the utterly exclusive 400 Test wickets' club came quickly. Kumble, who turns 34 in 10 days, grabbed with both hands.

But, then, whatever his critics may suggest, he hasn't been one to miss opportunities.

For Kumble, it has been quite a journey from the summer of 1990 and, having reached a rare milestone ' becoming only the third spinner to get there ' quietly told The Telegraph the achievement is dedicated to his late father (Krishnaswami).

Damien Martyn, Darren Lehmann, Simon Katich... 398, 399, 400... On the field, Kumble was over the moon but, later, it appeared he had just finished a routine day's work.

'Actually, I've been hit by flu.... That's why you aren't finding me excited.' But, it's a great moment and I'm happy I could get to another milestone in Bangalore.... Perhaps, it's nothing more than a coincidence,' he remarked, grinning.

If so, then we have been witnessing the mother of all coincidences: victim No. 100 (Martin Crowe), No. 300 (Matthew Hoggard) and, of course, Katich got snared on a ground where Kumble mastered the demanding art of leg-spin.

Among those who watched this afternoon's history were wife Chetna and her daughter from the earlier marriage. Their infant son, though, was at home.

Only the second bowler to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings, Kumble seemed somewhat lost for words when asked what else.

'Don't know.... Can't say.... Yes, getting past Kapil paaji (434) is a target.' After that.... For now, however, I hope to contribute in our trying to win this first Test,' he pointed out in his customary matter-of-fact manner.

Kumble accepted that being out of cricket for almost nine months in 2001, following shoulder surgery in South Africa, was particularly tough, but thanked 'family and friends' for then (and always) being so supportive.

If anything, he himself returned more hungry. Probably more passionate as well.

Significantly, speaking exclusively, Team India consultant Sunil Gavaskar had the highest praise.

'Hopefully, now, Anil will get the credit he deserves.' Often, he has been called everything but a leg-spinner.' He isn't one in the classical mould, but has been terrific.... As important, Anil has served the country wonderfully,' Gavaskar said.

It's unlikely that Kumble is going to forget the icon's sentiments. He shouldn't, really.

Meanwhile, at a 'suitable time', Kumble will be 'honoured' by the Board of Control for Cricket in India and his state association.

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