Special Correspondent

Mumbai: A jewel of Indian cricket for nearly two decades, the incomparable Anil Kumble will be presented a priceless memento — a golden ball with diamonds and rubies crafted on it — at a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) felicitation function to be held in Chennai on Tuesday. Capped 125 times by India so far, the champion leg-spinner has a collection of 604 wickets. The BCCI has invited representatives from all the member units and former India captains to celebrate the occasion.

The special made-to-order ‘Gold, Diamond & Ruby’ ball has been made by Orra Diamonds, the jewellery company in India which has tie-ups with De Beers, Platinum Guild India and World Gold Council. Orra is also part of the Rosyblue Group.

“It’s a privilege for us at Orra to be associated with cricket, BCCI and a historic occasion for Anil Kumble. In the past we have been associated with Bollywood and international events. There are 1500 pieces of the finest Belgian diamonds of 37 carats and 640 pieces of finest rubies (sourced in India) of 239 carats crafted across the ball. The ball is mounted on a hand made of wood and gold. There was no compromise on the quality. I cannot reveal the price,” said Vijay Jain, CEO, Orra Diamonds.

Competitive cricketer

The BCCI decided to felicitate Kumble after the India captain reached the 600-wicket mark in the third Test against Australia that India won at Perth in mid-January. Kumble dismissed Andrew Symonds in the first innings, the nick lobbing into the hands of Rahul Dravid off Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves. In the process, Dravid reached 165 catches in Test cricket. Now, Dravid has 166 from 119 Tests and is placed third behind Mark Waugh (181) and Stephen Fleming (171).

Nayan Mongia who has 107 victims from 44 Tests said: “I have kept wicket to him right through my career. Anil exemplifies perseverance and he is a great competitor. Accuracy is his forte and he shows the aggression of a fast bowler.

He has more variations now. He was quicker through the air, but now he is much slower, which is good and is amply reflected in his continual success.”

Left-arm spinner and presently a national selector, Venkatapathy Raju said: “I may have played close to 20 Tests with Anil. He has always been a match winner.

“He is a fierce competitor always looking for wickets. What ought not to be forgotten is that in one-dayers he took the burden of bowling in the first fifteen, middle and slog overs.”

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