Anil Kumble retires

As the 3rd test between India and Australia meandered towards a draw, journalists who were almost done filing their copy were given a rude shock when Indian skipper Anil Kumble announced that this would be his final test match. As people slowly started to absorb the news, one wonders whether Kumble made this decision in order to go out on his terms. This Cricinfo report, for example, that former Indian chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar thought that Kumble had to go.

India under Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked more effective at Mohali, and only Harbhajan Singh’s injury prevented India the embarassment of having to drop Amit Mishra, who took five wickets in the previous test- his debut one.

Kumble said that the decision was taken yesterday, when he realised that he would not be fit enough for the last test at Nagpur. He said that he did not want to ” let the team down ” and added that he would any way have retired at the end of the series.

Kumble has an enviable record at the Ferozshah Kotla, having taken 58 wickets in seven tests there. His greatest achievement- 10/74 against Pakistan, also came there. It is probably his favourite track.

With Kumble’s retirement, we now say goodbye to the Karnataka triumvirate who shouldered much of India’s bowling burden in the 90’s. The other two, as you might be knowing, were Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.

From Allan Lamb to Mitchell Johnson ( his last test victim – caught and bowled), Kumble has bowled himself into cricket’s hall of fame. With over 900 wickets in both versions of the game, he is one of India’s all time greats. Kumble’s last ball was a full toss which was hit for four by Matthew Hayden.

Is Dravid the next one to go ? Or Laxman ? Ganguly is retiring after the Nagpur test, and more of India’s seniors are likely to hang up their boots in the immediate future.

Kumble’s successor is likely to be Dhoni, who hoisted him on his shoulders as Kumble walked around the ground for one final time.

Goodbye Jumbo, we’ll miss you.

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