New Delhi: An ordinary performance in Sri Lanka and no longer young at 38, Anil Kumble came under scanner of critics but former spin greats say the Indian Test captain is still the best bowler in the team.

Spin great Bishen Bedi dismisses any talk of Kumble’s dip in form as simply ‘ridiculous’.

“I have seen a lot of Indian bowlers over the years and for me, Kumble is the best ever. It is ridiculous for people to question his performances,” Bedi said.

“He is still India’s strike bowler and the best bowler. It is a fact of life that Kumble has grown a little old now and his performance has dipped but he is still a deadly bowler. You just have to rewind to earlier this year and you can see that Kumble was troubling the Aussie batsmen in their own backyard,” said the former captain when asked whether the Karnataka leg-spinner was still a threat to opposition batsmen.

Another spin great Erapalli Prasnna felt that a lot will depend on Kumble if India had to win the forthcoming Test series against Australia against whom the Indian captain has a fantastic record having taken 108 wickets from 18 Tests.

“This is the weakest Australian batting line-up that has ever travelled to India. It is advantageous for Kumble that he does not have to bowl at top-quality batsmen of spin bowling. A lot depends on how well he fares and the series will be won or loss on that,” said Prasanna.

How much the burden of captaincy has affected Kumble’s performance? Bedi would think it has done wonders.

Discipline is strength

“Captaincy has done wonders to his career. His greatest strength is his discipline, dedication, attitude and approach towards his game and the sport in general. There is nobody in the last two decades who has matched Sachin Tendulkar in terms of performance. That itself is a great compliment for the man,” said Bedi.

Bedi feels that the question of retirement should be best left to Kumble. — PTI

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