“In 1990, as a teenager, I took my first steps in international cricket and was eager for encouragement and a kind word in the cricketing world. I came across a comment from an accomplished Indian cricketer and a respected leader of men.
“I quote: ‘This lad, I don’t see him winning Test matches for India, either at home or abroad. He rarely turns the ball. At best he can be restrictive.’
“The assessment came from Mr Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
“Two decades of international cricket and 619 Test wickets later, it is indeed a great honour and privilege to address this august gathering.
“It was my misfortune that I never had a chance to confront Pataudi on his comment, but I am confident that had I done so, he would have had a good laugh. Unlike many men with a reputation for possessing a sense of humour, he was capable of taking a joke against himself.
“In cricket, as in most things in life, perceiving is believing. I think it was the great English left arm spinner Wilfred Rhodes who said that if the batsman thinks it’s spinning, then it’s spinning. As you might imagine, it is a philosophy I can identify with.
“In recent years such gifted bowlers as Shane Warne and Saqlain Mushtaq have spoken of the ‘zooter’ and the ‘teesra’ respectively to keep the opposition guessing and wasting hours in their back rooms figuring out what these exotic terms meant.
“Perception. It is all a matter of perception. After all, what can a teesra be? A leg break bowled with an off break action that turns out to be an off break after all?”
Read the full lecture: Perception and practice
Photograph: Former India captain Anil Kumble arrives to address the meet-the-press programme organized by Bangalore Reporters Guild, at the Press Club of Bangalore, in Bangalore on Wednesday (Karnataka Photo News)