Harbhajan Singh believes former India captain Anil Kumble is “the greatest player” India has ever had. In an interview with Sportstar, the off-spinner said that the legendary leg-spinner’s competitiveness made him stand out.

Harbhajan, himself an all-time great of Indian cricket with 711 international wickets to his name, represented the Indian team alongside Kumble for a long time. They formed an immensely successful pair with India winning 21 of the 54 matches they played together.

“In my view, Anil bhai was the greatest ever who played for India,” said Harbhajan. “He’s probably the greatest match-winner India has ever produced. People used to say he didn’t spin the ball, but he showed that if you had the heart, you could get batsmen out regardless of whether the ball spun or not.”

Interestingly, the unforgettable 2001 Test series against Australia, which had Harbhajan Singh put in a stellar performance to announce his arrival at the global stage, saw the off-spinner lead India’s charge in the bowling department because of an injury to Kumble.

“If anyone has half the competitiveness Anil bhai had, he would become a champion,” Harbhajan added. “I’m lucky to have played with him for so many years. He was an unbelievably committed player.”

Kumble, who took 956 wickets in international cricket, captained India in 2007 and 2008, before being the head coach of the team in 2016-’17. With 619 wickets in 132 Tests, he is third on the list of most wickets taken in the longest format.