Lucky to have Anil represented India, says Warne

Between them, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble have more than 2,000 international wickets. They plied a similar craft, leg-spin, but employed vastly differing methods. Warne was the magician who gave the ball a rip, Kumble was less of a wizard only because he was more substance than style.

“I have been lucky enough or unlucky enough to have played against Anil for nearly 20 years,” Warne said on Wednesday, shortly after launching Kumble’s ‘Wide Angle’. “We all know what a gentleman he is, so humble and such an example for young kids. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is not competitive.”

Principal and influential members of the spinners’ club, Warne and Kumble get along like a house on fire. “I am lucky enough to get to know Anil away from cricket. It is a pleasure and an honour to have him as a friend. Of course he has a lot of skill, but what he has also shown is there are different ways to skinning a cat, different ways to get batsmen out.

“He has had many wonderful achievements but one stand-out thing for me is the size of his heart. He is a giver. Whenever whichever team he has played for has needed something to happen, he has given 100 percent commitment 100 percent of the time. You can’t live life with regrets. Every single time he has been on the field, he has given it his all and he can hold his head high.

“You guys are all very lucky to have someone like Anil represent India. He is a wonderful man, a great role model and an ideal example. The way he conducts himself on and off the field is exemplary. When you play over such a long period of time, it is not just skill but love and passion, courage and commitment that is required in large measures. You need the courage to find a way to get yourself up every time.”

Kumble has had to live with having to be told repeatedly that he isn’t a great turner of the ball. “I wish I could bowl like Shane, spin it like him,” said the affable Bangalorean when asked which Warne weapon he would have loved to possess. “He is someone I have always looked up to. He was an inspiration. I used to watch how he used to set batsmen up, that was my learning process. I secretly learnt from what he was doing by watching him on TV. He was also a great help in 2003-04. We had a long chat in Adelaide and I had a stint with Terry Jenner too. We have watched each other’s progress and shared information about how to get batsmen out. It has been a wonderful experience.”

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