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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 18:35 GMT
Kumble's year of plenty
Interview by Gulu Ezekiel

Anil Kumble
Kumble found plenty to celebrate during the course of 2004

Anil Kumble was the world's leading wicket-taker in 2004 with 74 wickets from 12 Tests.

And he next appears on Monday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as an Asian XI takes on a Rest-of-the-Word XI for the tsunami appeal match.

The veteran Indian spinner, enjoying some rest and relaxation at home in Bangalore, reflects on his achievements during that time in this exclusive interview for BBC Sport.

Would you say 2004 was the best year of your career?

Yes, I would say so. I don't like to make comparisons but perhaps the previous best year was back in 1993.

When you equalled Kapil Dev's record for most wickets by an Indian bowler in Calcutta you seemed quite angry when addressing the media.

Do you feel you have been under-appreciated?

Not really, I don't think I was angry. It's just that cricket followers tend to have preconceived notions about certain players.

If things don't work out as they expect them to, then these people don't know how to react to events.

To what would you ascribe your success in 2004? Were you doing anything differently from earlier?

I felt I had nothing to prove so I could go out and enjoy my cricket. Perhaps I learned to vary the pace of my bowling better last year.

I have never felt any tension or pressure to perform. I have always been extremely confident and back myself whatever the situation.

Adam Gilchrist
You fancy your chances with Gilchrist but he always gets away with his strokes

Apart from your individual success, do you think the Indian team had a disappointing run in 2004?

Yes, we have been very disappointed with our performance.

At the start of the year we had the chance to win in Australia for the first time but could not convert our chances. Then they came and beat us at home.

In fact in Australia last year, I thought it could be the last time I would be playing there. Now I am back there on Friday! [For the tsunami benefit match].

The victory in Pakistan was obviously the highlight of 2004 for the team. How are you looking forward to 2005?

I think John [Wright, the coach] and the team would like to take it one step and one series at a time.

The first series is against Pakistan at home and this is a very important series for us. The last time they were here in 1999 the series was drawn 1-1.

But if you include the Asian Test championship match they beat us in two Tests.

Pakistan are a good side. On their day they can beat anyone.

To beat them we must stick to our disciplines. It would be a huge thing if we could beat them at home as well.

Of all the batsmen you bowled to in 2004, whom did you find the biggest challenge?

In Australia it was Ricky Ponting. In India it was Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke.

You always fancy your chances with Adam Gilchrist as he is an attacking type of batsmen.

But he always seems to get away with his strokes.

What are your personal goals for 2005? There is the possibility of reaching the 500-wicket mark this year.

It's a definite possibility. The sooner I get there the better. But right now I'm just enjoying the game.

Kumble delight over record feat
10 Dec 04 |  Other International
Kumble's Test career in pictures
10 Dec 04 |  Photo Galleries
Kumble revels in second coming
01 Apr 04 |  Other International

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