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banner Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 15:42 GMT
The joy of taking all 10
Interviewed after the Madras win against England
Interviewed after the Madras win against England
Rakesh Sharma interviews Anil Kumble at Delhi's Feroz Shaw Kotla Stadium, where two years ago the great leg-spinner took all 10 Pakistani wickets in a Test innings.

Q. You are the second cricketer ever to claim 10 wickets in an innings in Test cricket. Can you go down memory lane and recount that event and what it felt having accomplished it?

A. It was a great feeling. As a bowler, you can't ask for anything else. I guess you do not think of getting 'a perfect 10' when you walk into a ground. You just want to pick wickets and help your country win.

That obviously is always on your mind. On that day, after having lost the first Test we had 420 runs to defend. So it was a huge task for Pakistan.

So one had to get wickets but had the cushion for it. And God is there always - so if you are destined to get 10 wickets, you get them.

Q. Did you foresee or ever had a pre-cognition of achieving that feat?

A. No,no,no. But you generally get a feeling when you know that you will get a five or a big wicket haul. So the night before the game you chalk up your plans.

I knew I had to play a big part to win the Test. That was there. It was one of those things, probably, when one is destined to do it.

Q. How does the captaincy in the 3rd ODI against England and your leading India to a win in Madras compare with your 10 wicket feat, if at all?

Removing Flintoff - a crucial wicket in Madras
Removing Flintoff - a crucial wicket in Madras

A. I don't think you can make a comparison of the two. It is a great honour to captain one's country. And even though the captaincy came to me by default as Sourav (Ganguly) was injured, it felt nice to start off with a win. It was a crucial game for us. The series was tied one-all and with the win we went two-one up.

Q. The spinner keeps sharpening the weapons in his armoury. Of late, the googly has been an oft-used weapon by you. I am sure it's bringing dividends.

A. I have been bowling the googly for a while now - in fact,a long time now. I guess people are picking it up and I shall start looking at other options as well.

You keep learning with time and try use your experience and skill to work out different options. I am still learning.

Returning to fitness was a tough task
Returning to fitness was a tough task

I am still experimenting at practice and try and come up with something that the batsmen may not be able to readily anticipate.

You get wickets on your strengths and so you have to work within your strengths and limitations. A perfect bowler is an utopia. The search for that utopia never ends. One tries to be perfect and that process never ends.

Q. On the downside - the shoulder injury that kept you away from the game - did you at any time think that you were gone, that it was curtains for you from international cricket.

A. It was a pretty serious injury. And, yes, after the surgery, there were times that doubts did gnaw. One did feel hassled and wondered what the future had in store for me.

You have to begin lifting your arm,stregthening it and begin bowling anew. You do get certain negative thoughts especially when the sling is around your arm.

At that time my family, my wife, my daughter gave me a lot of support. That support from the family, I think, is vital in the rehabilitation. And also I never felt out of the team; that really helped.

I was part of the Madras camp, I was part of the Bangalore camp. That gave me confidence.

At airports and when travelling people always wished me well and said they looked forward to see me back in the team and bowling for India soon. That felt good, too.

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