File image of Muttiah Muralitharan and Anil Kumble together.© AFP
Cricket teams from the sub-continent have often relied on their spinners to pave their way to glory. The cricket folklores of the region has several tales of the exploits of greats like Muttiah Muralitharan, Anil Kumble, Bishan Singh Bedi, Abdul Qadir, Saqlain Mushtaq among others. However, former Pakistan spinner Abdur Rehman, who played 22 Tests, 31 ODIs and eight T20Is for the side between 2006 and 2014, believes that Kumble and Muralitharan would have gone for big runs had they been bowling in the current era.
When asked to name a bad spinner from India on the Nadir Ali Podcast, Abdur Rehman said: “Anyone who plays for his country can never be bad.”
Upon further prodding about a bowler whom he thinks can be hit easily, the former Pakistan spinner said: “In their condition, all pitches turn. When there is a flat pitch, then they get exposed on occasions. Jadeja was a poor bowler when he came in but under MS Dhoni‘s captaincy he imporved so much that he is world no. 1. In all formats, he is doing well. Chahal can be hit easily. He is not a big turner of the ball, there is no force. It does not seem like he can turn red ball cricket, maybe in shorter formats he can be successful. My point of view is that he is not lambe race ka ghoda.”
When asked about Anil Kumble, he said: “I think he would have got hit if he was bowling now. Because he was not a big turner of the ball. It used to skid. In modern day cricket, the pace with which it is played, the line and length that he used to have he would have got hit. Even Muralitharan would have been hit. During his time also he got hit. But Saeed Ajmal would not have got hit now because of the variety he had.”
Anil Kumble is India’s highest wicket-taker in Tests (619) as well as ODIs (334). Muralitharan holds the record of most wickets in Tests (800) and ODIs (534).
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