Surprisingly, India's captain has not reveled at home the way some of his contemporaries have over the years

Sunday, October 12, 2021

Retreating with regrets?

Sai Mohan

Unless a miracle comes to his aid on Monday morning, Anil Kumble is all set to bow out of his hometown without any wickets next to his name. It will be a sad end to one of the greatest careers in contemporary Indian cricket.

Succeeding in his very last Test match at home is truly a dream come true for any cricketer. Anil Kumble, who has achieved everything possible in his 18-year long illustrious Test career, was most definitely eluded of a good showing in front of his home fans.

The only compensation for the leg-spinner would be a victory for India – which appears highly unlikely at this point

Besides Kumble, 9 others have taken more than 400 Test wickets. Let us run through each of those 8 bowlers’ performances in their very last Test matches at home.

Muttiah Muralidaran is the only bowler in that top ten list who is most likely to play another Test match at home (Kandy). Hence we don't compare Kumble's record against him.

Courtney Walsh

Overall: 519 Test wickets

Home Ground: Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Tests: 11 | Wickets: 48 | BBI: 6-62 | Ave: 19
Last Test at home: April 2001 versus South Africa

West Indies had already last the series but going into the last Test, the players were charged up to bestow the great Courtney Walsh with a grand, victorious farewell.

Walsh’s bowling: 3-31 and 3-62
West Indies won the Test by 130 runs

Curtly Ambrose

Overall: 405 Test wickets

Home Ground: Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's, Antigua
Tests: 11 | Wickets: 48 | BBI: 5-37 | Ave: 20
Last Test at home: May 2000 versus Pakistan

The fast bowler took 5 wickets in his last Test at home as West Indies clinched a thrilling 1-wicket victory over Pakistan. It helped them achieve a series victory.

Ambrose’s bowling: 2-30 and 3-39
West Indies won the Test by 1 run

Wasim Akram

Overall: 414 Test wickets

Home Ground: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Tests: 9 | Wickets: 22 | BBI: 5-28 | Ave: 23
Last Test at home: November 2000 against England

The left-armer finished with just the solitary wicket in his last-ever Test match at home. It was England opener Marcus Trescothick’s wicket.

Wasim’s bowling: 0-40 and 1-1
Match Drawn

Kapil Dev

Overall: 434 Test wickets

Home Grounds: Sector 16 Stadium, Chandigarh and Ind: Gandhi Stadium, Jalandhar
Tests: 2 | Wickets: 9 | BBI: 4-36 | Ave: 15
Last Test at home: versus Sri Lanka, 1990-91

The Haryana Hurricane took five wickets in his farewell Test at Chandigarh and more importantly bowled his team to a thumping innings and 8 runs victory over Sri Lanka.

Kapil’s bowling: 1-14 and 4-36
India won by an innings / 8 runs

Richard Hadlee

Overall: 431 Test wickets

Home Ground: Lancaster Park, Christchurch
Tests: 14 | Wickets: 76 | BBI: 7-116 | Ave: 21
Last Test at home: versus India, 1989-90

Quite easily New Zealand’s greatest cricketer ever, played his very last Test at his home ground like the champion that he was. Hadlee claimed seven wickets in the match and scored 28 runs in the first innings.

Hadlee’s bowling: 3-45 and 4-69
New Zealand won by 10 wickets

Glenn McGrath

Overall: 563 Test wickets

Home Ground: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Tests: 12 | Wickets: 50 | BBI: 4-48 | Ave: 23
Last Test at home: versus England, 2006-07

It was almost a fairytale – the manner in which this great fast bowler’s career came to a close. Firstly, it was against archrivals England and secondly his team achieved the first Ashes whitewash in over seven decades.

McGrath’s bowling: 3-67 and 3-38
Australia won by 10 wickets

Shane Warne

Overall: 708 Test wickets

Home Ground: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Tests: 11 | Wickets: 56 | BBI: 7-52 | Ave: 22
Last Test at home: versus England, 2006-07

The magician from Victoria helped him country steamroll his favourite opponents England in his very last appearance at the historical MCG. Warne was instrumental in Australia’s victory and was even awarded the Man of the Match.

Warne’s bowling: 5-39 and 2-46
Australia won by an innings and 899 runs

Shaun Pollock

Overall: 421 Test wickets

Home Ground: St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Tests: 9 | Wickets: 37 | BBI: 5-40 | Ave: 20
Last Test at home: versus Pakistan, 2006-07

Shaun Pollock was probably not sure if this was his last Test at his home ground before going into the series. He announced his sudden retirement a year later and his farewell series against West Indies did not feature a match at Port Elizabeth.

South Africa lost this Test match to Pakistan but fought back in the last Test and won the series.

Pollock’s bowling: 2-42 and 2-47
Pakistan won by 5 wickets

Anil Kumble (Prior to the ongoing Test against Australia)

Overall: 616 Test wickets

Home Ground: M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Tests: 9 | Wickets: 41 | BBI: 6-98 | Ave: 35
Last Test at home: versus Australia, 2008-09

Anil Kumble’s record at his home ground is the worst when compared to his ‘great’ contemporaries and other leading wicket-takers of all time. He has averaged four wickets per Test in Bangalore at a rather high bowling average of 35.

If he does end wicket-less in his farewell Test at Bangalore, Kumble’s record at home would worsen by the time he’s done.

Kumble’s bowling (so far): 0-129 and 0-25*
Result: Unknown