New Delhi: Legendary Indian legspinner Anil Kumble says that Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman played a vital role in his success with their brilliance as close-in fielders. Of Kumble's 619 Test victims, 81 have been dismissed caught by Dravid and Laxman combined.
Kumble remembered Dravid and Laxman for their agility at the slips, silly point and short-leg positions.
"Rahul and Laxman were brilliant for me as close-in fielders. Most of the times, they knew exactly what I was going to bowl. I never had to discuss my bowling plans with them or instruct them particularly. At times, I told them if I wanted them to stand a bit straighter or wider, but mostly they were very precise in positioning themselves," Kumble said.
Kumble said Dravid and Laxman's presence was assuring and he bowled without worry when they were around.
"For a spinner to succeed it's very important to have good close-in fielders and I was very lucky to have quite a few. Rahul and Laxman were among the best. They expected a catch off every ball.
"They weren't afraid to stand close to the bat and gave their 100 per cent in the field. As a bowler the last thing you want is to worry about having a slip fielder who is not really alert. That was never on my mind," he said in an interview to BCCI website. Kumble said Dravid was exceptionally focussed on cricket field and Laxman's optimism stood him apart.
"Rahul's concentration and focus was unbelievable. It was impossible for me to be that focused. And the amount of work that he put in, in order to prepare himself for a match, was really inspirational.
"What I liked the most about Laxman was that he was extremely positive no matter what the situation was. He never worried about how the pitch was and how it would behave. He bailed India out of trouble on innumerable occasions with his positivity and calmness," he said.
Kumble was also endorsed the timings of the retirements of both the cricketers.
"I really admire the way both, Rahul and Laxman retired -- they went out on their own terms, and I really appreciate that. Laxman could've easily played the Test series against New Zealand and then gone on a high. But he never looked at things from a personal perspective.
"Both men always kept the team's interest above their own. When the two of them batted together, the dressing room would be totally relaxed. Rahul and Laxman will be sorely missed," he said.