It was an emotional time for the cricket fans all over the globe, particularly the Indians when Anil "Jumbo" Kumble announced his retirement. Although everyone knew that this decision from Kumble was somewhere around the corner sooner than later, but it came at a time when people perhaps least expected it. As Kumble himself said, his injury helped him taking the decision.
A bowler who doesn't turn the bowl a lot ended up bagging 600+ test wickets and amongst the top three wicket takers of all time. What a Champion! What a man!
Whenever Indian fans expected a win in any Test match there was one player in particular on whose shoulders a great part of their hopes used to rest on—Anil Kumble; because Test matches are not won only by runs but by taking 20 wickets. That was Jumbo's impact to Indian cricket in the last 18 years.
We have been loosing world class leg spinners one by one and with the exit of Kumble, I am forced to think who could be the next big leg spinner in the world.
Here are some of them who I think can maintain the level of leg spin, set by the Warnies, the Qadirs, the Mushys, the Chandrasekhars and the Kumbles, if not able to take it to another level.
1. Ajantha Mendis: In my previous blog, I mentioned that this guy is one to look out for this year. He has promised and even delivered so much in such a short span of time in international cricket that this guy deserves to be at the top of this list. He caught the entire world in a web especially after bringing down an experienced lineup of quality batsmen, who plays spin particularly best, in India's last tour of Sri-Lanka.
Although he bowls a mixed bag of deliveries like the googlies, off breaks, top-spinners and flippers, his best weapon is his leg spinner which he bowls at a good pace, allowing the batsmen very little time to react.
2. Danesh Kanneria: Although in and out of the national team especially in the ODIs, as of now with more than 200 test wickets, he is undoubtedly the leading leg spinner in the world. With lots of international experience behind him, he would be the one to look out for at least the next couple of years.
3. Amit Mishra: Although relatively new to international cricket this classical leg spinner has loads of domestic experience behind him, in fact more than 300 wickets, to deliver the goods at the internal level. With his place in the Indian Team almost sealed for the time being, there is no doubt he will be going all out in times to come.
4. Piyush Chawla: Coming to the relatively younger generation, this guy has everything in him to make it big. Although not yet in the Indian Team permanently, this 20 year old has lots of time in the world and he has already shown sparks of brilliance. He has a wonderful control of his variations and is not afraid to give the ball some air.
He is no monkey with the bat and that gives him an extra edge. His state team UP performing well in the Indian domestic circuit has allowed him to play more and more crucial and important games, which will definitely help him immensely in the long run.
5. Adil Rashid: Backed by the legendary leg spin as the future genuine all rounder for England, this product of Terry Jerner's "Spin Programme" has been a talk of the town in England. With Mushy praising so much about him we can be assured that the legend of leg spin has seen something in this young leggie. I am all excited to see how he progresses from here on.
Having said all this, let's not forget that leg spin is one of the toughest art of the game and only a handful of players have been able to master it. So, the future of leg spin will depend a lot on how the legends, who once ruled, transfer their knowledge to the younger lot.
So, keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the beauty of spin!