If Anil Kumble's 10 for 74 powered India to its first victory over Pakistan in 23 Tests, dating back to 1979-80, then Virender Sehwag's record-breaking double hundred against the West Indies left the opposition an fans gasping for breath. Add to it, Viswanathan Anand's spectacular all-conquering feat against Russian Vladimir Kramnik in the 2008 World chess championship, and you have a medley of astonishing sporting achievements to bing on at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has forced cancellations or postponements of most major sporting events across the globe.

Anil Kumble's 10 for 74 against Pakistan, 2009

“I am happy this unique feat was accomplished by a nice man like Anil (Kumble). But, also give Waqar Younis and me some credit for not throwing away the last wicket to the bowler at the other end, get run out or hit wicket.”

This was Wasim Akram talking less than 24 hours after Kumble’s much-remembered 10 for 74 as we sat down for an interview for Sportstar , following Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin’s brief birthday celebration at New Delhi’s Taj Mahal Hotel.

Indeed, Kumble could not have achieved it without Pakistan’s cricketers playing their parts. Chasing 420 to win, Pakistan was 101 without loss when Kumble began to turn things around. Thrice during the innings, Kumble got two wickets in an over - Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Ahmed; Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf; and Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq.

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There was a period when the Indians grew a little exasperated with Saleem Malik and Akram adding 58 runs for the seventh wicket. This stand was broken but not before Kumble bowled a few overs from the opposite end.

There was some drama when the last-man Younis joined Akram. Javagal Srinath needed no reminding that he was to remain wicketless in the two overs he bowled. In the following over, Kumble had Akram caught by V. V. S. Laxman at short leg to give India one of its most treasured pieces of cricketing history.

Sehwag's 219 in ODI against West Indies in Indore, 2011


Virender Sehwag’s brand of batting earned him an exalted status in the game.


Virender Sehwag’s brand of batting earned him an exalted status in the game. No wonder, cricketing greats agree that few were capable of scoring boundaries off ‘good’ deliveries as Sehwag did. He provided on a glittering example of his strokeplay at Indore’s Holkar Stadium in December 2011.

Facing the West Indies, Sehwag smashed 219 - an effort that saw him overtake Sachin Tendulkar as the highest scorer in an ODI from India. As India posted its highest ODI tally of 418 for five, Sehwag smashed 100 runs off boundaries and another 42 off sixes spread over 149 deliveries. He got out in the 47th over and left many wondering how far he could have gone had he batted 50 overs.

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As a smiling Sehwag approached the area marked for the post-match press conference, I asked him, "Viru, how did you manage to keep hitting for so long?"“Bhaiya, appears that this was destined to be my day. Whatever I did, it worked” was his response as we shook hands.

Any regrets that you could not bat through? “I never regret anything. That ball was meant to be hit, but I could not connect well,” said Sehwag referring to the Keiron Pollard delivery that did not clear long-off.

Coincidentally, when Sachin scored 200 against South Africa at Gwalior and again after Sehwag’s record-effort, India’s winning margin stood at 153 runs!

Viswanathan Anand becomes undisputed World Chess Champion, 2008


The discerning from the world of 64 squares hold Anand’s conquest of a previously-unbeaten Russian Vladimir Kramnik in the 2008 World chess championship clash as his greatest triump.


Viswanathan Anand has won almost every worthy title. Among them, the five World titles serve as a glorious prefix. But the discerning from the world of 64 squares hold Anand’s conquest of a previously-unbeaten Russian Vladimir Kramnik in the 2008 World chess championship clash as his greatest triumph.

Not surprisingly, even after 11 years, Anand chose to begin his book “Mind Masters” with a reference to the best-of-12-game clash he won 6.5-4.5. The maverick Indian claimed the world title in knockout format in 2000 and again in a tournament format in 2007. But the triumph over Kramnik in the time-tested match format truly established Anand among the greats.

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Victories in Game Three and Five, with black pieces, and then in Game Six, with white, placed Anand in an almost unassailable position. Eventually, Anand crossed the line, armed with a two-point lead and a game to spare.

When I met Anand and wife Aruna at their suite in Hotel Hilton the morning after the triumph, the World champion’s words truly conveyed what the victory meant to him. “I am very proud I could win by such a margin here. It (the margin) could have been three points. That would have been incredible against someone who doesn’t lose three games in a year!”

The conflict-ridden chess world hailed its latest undisputed champion. Indeed, it was a rich moment in the eventful history of chess.

(This is a part of a daily series where Sportstar's correspondents will pick their five favourite sporting moments worth revisiting. Reader contributions are welcome. Send in your picks to sportstar@thehindu.co.in)