Colombo, Nov 5 (UNI) Hailing Anil Kumble as a legend of the game, Mahela Jayawardene said in an era dominated by spin wizards Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, the Indian spin guru has been able to retain a distinct identity and his retirement is a loss to the international cricket.
''Kumble is a real fighter and an amazing cricketer with a lot of talent and character,'' Jayawardene said.
The Sri Lankan skipper further said Kumble belonged to a golden era of spin bowling and was never completely outshone by the likes of Muralitharan and Warne.
''Shane was an orthodox leg-spinner, who spun the ball quite a bit, while Murali is a genius. Kumble, on his part, is simply a legend and is dangerous on a helpful pitch,'' he affirmed.
''It is not easy to play for so many years and pick up thousand odd international wickets. He has always bowled to his strengths and the weaknesses of the batsmen. These special qualities make the difference between a bowler and a champion bowler -- Kumble belongs to the second category,'' he added.
While appreciating his outgoing Indian counterpart's captaincy, Jayawardene said, ''As a captain too, Kumble enjoyed the complete trust of his teammates.
''The respect he had from his teammates was evident on the ground. You just cannot earn that respect only through your cricketing ability,'' he added.
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