Dalmiya Lecture: Lara, Hooper hail 'unplayable' Anil Kumble in '93 Hero final
"We had batsmen those days who would dance down the wicket to spinners, but Kumble just didn't allow that to happen that night," remembered Carl Hooper
The cricket bandwagon was in town, for the opening T20 International on Sunday, and it was just as well that no member of the West Indian team was around when the Cricket Association of Bengal celebrated its second Jagmohan Dalmiya Annual Conclave at the Eden Gardens yesterday.
Graeme Smith set the ball rolling with the memorial lecture before Brian Lara, Carl Hooper, Mohammed Azharuddin, Rohit Sharma and Sourav Ganguly, who is the currently the CAB president, joined a panel discussion on the Hero Cup victory, which happened 25 years ago at this very ground. Lara and Hooper, members of the team considered favourites to lift the trophy, recalled how Anil Kumble was 'unplayable' on the night of the final.
"We had batsmen those days who would dance down the wicket to spinners, but Kumble just didn't allow that to happen that night," remembered Hooper. "I was tied down and just couldn't play the way I wanted to," he added.
"I grew up in Trinidad, among Indians and a lot of spin, but Kumble was very different," said Lara, who lamented never having played a Test at Eden Gardens. Kumble, who had returned with magical figures of 6.1-2-12-6 in the final, shed more light on the spell. "I had an injury on the thumb and thus, had to push the ball through," Kumble said in a video message. Vinod Kambli remembered the pace at which Kumble bowled. "He was bowling like a medium pacer," Kambli said.
The most dramatic turn of events had happened in the semi-final, when South Africa required just six runs for victory in the final over. "We were in a huddle discussing, and I think it was Ajay [Jadeja] who suggested that we do something different," said Azharuddin, explaining how Sachin Tendulkar delivered the final over.
"Kapil and Kumble had overs left, but we decided on Sachin, also because he was quite keen to bowl it," added the skipper of that side, not forgetting to mention how Brian McMillan was kept off the strike.
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