Former India batsman VVS Laxman played in an era when the Indian team was studded with globally renowned cricketers. Starting from Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly to Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh; the Indian side had the luxury of boasting some of the greatest match-winners the game of cricket has ever seen. Even for an ardent cricket fan, it would have been a humongous task to pick the best among these but for Laxman, it wasn’t. The Very Very Special Laxman had no hesitation in naming former India captain and head coach Anil Kumble as the biggest match-winner for India he has played with.
In an episode of the Very Very Special stories, Laxman introduced Kumble as ‘the biggest match-winner’. “My dear friend Anil Kumble is probably India’s biggest match-winner… The biggest match-winner I played with,” said VVS Laxman.
Laxman also narrated the story of his first match against Anil Kumble in 1995 in the Challengers Trophy. “It was a bad memory. I did well for Hyderabad, and India U 19 so was picked for the India B side in the Challengers Trophy. The match was happening in the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium. I can never forget the sound of the ball hitting my pad… Against a leggie you go on the backfoot try to hit it square of the wicket… I did that in the previous ball but the next ball struck my pads even before my bat came down, Anil was quick in the air,” said Laxman.
“I had heard about you. I knew you were a backfoot player. Probably that’s how I used to set up a player. I just got lucky that day and I also remember coming to you after that match telling you not to play on the backfoot,” Kumble said.
Laxman also revealed that he was first introduced to Kumble back in 1993 in the Gymkhana grounds in Hyderabad in the presence of former India cricketers Venkatapathy Raju and Javagal Srinath.
Laxman, who represented India 134 Tests, played 84 of those with Anil Kumble. Laxman also played under Kumble’s captaincy between 2006 and 2008. Kumble retired in late 2008 as the highest wicket-taker for India with 619 wickets to his name.