End of an Era : 'Jumbo' Retires from International Cricket

NEW DELHI, Nov 2: India skipper Anil Kumble announced his retirement after the third Test against Australia, quitting the game at his favourite Feroz Shah Kotla ground. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been named India's captain for the Nagpur Test against Australia.

The 38-year-old is Test cricket's third-highest Test wicket taker with 619 wickets, trailing only Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and Australia's retired Shane Warne.

"It was a very tough decision, especially when you have performed for 18 years and been so competitive," he said at the presentation ceremony after the match had ended in a draw. "But the body helped me make the decision. This injury also helped."

Kumble had suffered a deep cut in his left little finger which needed 11 stitches during the match.

"I had already decided to leave after this series, but decided once I realised I won't be 100 percent for Nagpur (fourth Test)."

Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth told journalists at the end of the drawn third Test match on Sunday that Dhoni will lead the Indian team in the next match starting on November 6.

He said Dhoni would also captain the team in seven ODIs against England later this month and a decision will be taken on the two-Test series against England before it starts.

Kumble said he would want to go to Nagpur for the final Test to wish Sourav Ganguly on his last Test and Laxman on his 100th Test. "I may not be going with the team tomorrow. But I would want to be in dressing room in Nagpur and see that India win the series."

The spin bowler has been the team's bowling lynchpin for almost two decades, and the architect of India's dominance on slow home pitches, relying more on subtle variations than sharp turn. He has also taken 337 wickets from 271 One-Day Internationals and has already quit the shorter form of the game.

Kumble, who has played 132 Tests, had been facing mounting questions over his future and missed the second Test against the Aussies in Mohali due to a shoulder injury.

Kumble's retirement comes after former skipper Sourav Ganguly announced the current Australia Test series would be his last.

The team's senior cricketers have come under increasing pressure with domestic media engaged in frenzied debate whether they should step aside to help blood younger players.

The fourth and final Test starts in Nagpur on November 6.

Great Competitor, Role Model and a True Fighter

The Indian and international cricket community on Sunday paid glowing tributes to Anil Kumble , calling him a great competitor, role model and a true fighter and his decision to retire as an end of an era.

Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth summed up the reactions, saying he was an extraordinary cricketer and a role model not only for youngsters but also for future generations.

"He must have decided [to retire] during the course of the day. He spoke to me during tea time and said that he has decided to call it quits. It's the end of an era," he said.

'Kumble is one of India's greatest spinners'
"A lot of players in the team, I cannot tell you the names, were in tears when he told them his decision.

"It was an emotional moment for the team and me. He was an extraordinary cricketer, a great role model, not only for the youngsters but also for the future generations," Srikkanth said.

Former India captain Kapil Dev described Kumble as a "true gentleman" and a "true fighter".

"Anil Kumble is a true fighter, always had this never-say-die attitude and is thoroughly a true gentleman," Kapil said.

"He never got involved in any controversy and whatever he did he did it to the best of his abilities," he said adding that he is "great ambassador of cricket."

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting lauded Kumble, saying that he was proud to have played against a celebrated opponent like him.

"I would like to congratulate Anil for his long and successful career. He is a great competitor and every single player of my team, who has played against him, is proud of the cricketer," Ponting said after the third Test, which ended in a draw at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi on Sunday.

"I wish he will enjoy his time after the game," Ponting added.

Meanwhile, Kapil rubbished suggestions that there was pressure on Kumble to quit.

"I think it is time when we talk about what he has done for the country. He played the game most professionally."

On the void which will be created by Sourav Ganguly and Kumble's exit, Kapil said one will have to wait and see what the future has in store.

Legendary off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna described Kumble as one of the finest spinners that India has produced.

"He is a thorough gentleman, very strong minded, man of integrity and one not to be influenced by external forces," Prasanna said.

"I think he pre-poned his decision in view of his injury problem," the 68-year-old spinner said.

Former Australian captain Allan Border said the Kumble's decision has come as a shock to him and described it as a sad day for Indian cricket.

"He is a fantastic a cricketer and a human being who played his game in the right spirit throughout his career. It is a sad day for Indian cricket. It actually came as a shock to us. We will have to wait and watch, how India copes up without Kumble," he said.

Echoing the sentiment, another ex-Aussie captain Ian Chappell said the void left by Kumble would be hard to fill.

"It is very difficult for somebody to get into his shoes. He is a cricketer who never compromised his dignity and always played with determination," he said.

Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri felt the timing of Kumble's retirement is just perfect but the champion bowler would be missed.

"Kumble was a real, out and out professional. It is definitely a sad day for Indian cricket. You won't realise the impact of his retirement now but when you won't hear his name after some days, you will feel his void," he said.

"He decided to retire absolutely at the right time. A few days back I wrote in a column that you don't have to tell Kumble when to retire because being a true gentleman he knows when to take the call."

"Kumble left the game with utmost respect. He showed his true sportsmanship in Australia," he added.

Legendary Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi also felt that Kumble timed his retirement well and said the whole of country would be proud of his contribution to the game.

"I think the writing was in the wall. I could feel it was coming. It think he could have played the Nagpur Test but injury might have expedited his decision.

"Anyways, India is proud of you and I wish you happy retirement but I think although he has retired from International cricket, he has lots to offer in other aspects of the game," he said.

Ex-India stumper Syed Kirmani said Kumble has been an exceptional servant of the game.

"It is the right time for him to retire, the best time that Kumble would have looked for. He has done a great job for India and is leaving on a high," he said.

"He has made his debut under me in the state. He has been a dedicated, sincere, honest, disciplined and good thinking and a great champion cricketer and on the basis on these I can say that I have literally seen him grow and establish himself as a icon and a legendary cricketer both on the field and off it," he added.

Former pacer Madan Lal, who was part of the 1983 World Cup winning team, said he was surprised by Kumble's decision and did not expect him to retire in the middle of the ongoing Test series against Australia.

"It has taken me by surprise. He could have played the Nagpur Test and could have gone after winning the series against Australia or even after the England series. It is a difficult decision for any player and he has taken it.

"Nobody is going to be his successor, no one can replace Kumble. He is one of the finest leg-spinners in the world. Over the years he had developed variety in his bowing by working hard. I rate him very high," Madan Lal said.

Lal, however, also refused to believe that it was pressure by media and the experts of the game that forced Kumble to quit.

"I do not think it was because of any sort of pressure. Media is going to be with you every time. If your play well they will praise you and they will criticise you if you play badly. And I think, Kumble has taken it well in his stride. At the end of the day he is a gentleman," he said.

Former Test cricketer and Yuvraj Singh's father Yograj Singh was also of the view that Kumble is not the one to take decision "under any kind of pressure".


From Archives: Kumble's Exclusive Interview to Daijiworld :


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Comment on this article

  • Ronald Mathias, Mangalore / Bahrain

    Tue, Nov 04 2008

    Therer is a saying 'When the VOICE is good, better stop singing'. Right decision Mr. Anil Kumble. Hope the LONG time players of the Indian cricket team will follw the same.

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  • Victor Castelino, Moodubelle/Dubai

    Tue, Nov 04 2008

    Anil, you are just great and pride of Karnataka. Hope, you get the top most honours from the the state and central governments. There was a time Karnataka players dominated the national cricket team but not now. Come on youngsters of Karnataka, don't you love cricket?

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  • Anita Dsouza, Moodbidri/Mumbai

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Dear Anil We miss you in cricket All the best

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  • deepak shetty, Kundapura/Qatar

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Anil kumble will be missed by every cricket lover for years to come.He commanded respect from his peers for his on field performance . He is a legend and will remain so for genarations to come. I hope and wish,being a great son of Karnataka will take initiative to revive the cricket in state.

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  • Roland saldanha,

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Anil, we will miss you. Thanks for all that you have done for the country. Wish you All the very best.

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  • M.Bhat, Mumbai

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    People said lot about him including Vengsarkar, but all the time he proved everybody wrong. I am very surprised of his descision of retirement as we don't have any class wicket taker like him and he is not doing any bad.He is a sensitive and gentleman cricketer unlike others. We don't need to tell much as 619 speaks all and he claimed it in almost any kind of pitches and all countries angainst all greats. I salute to the master magical wicket taker of Indian cricket. May god give him happines for rest of his life and let him serve indian cricket in other roles in future. We miss him badly.

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  • Agnel D'Silva, Katapadi / Dubai

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    A great legend. will be remembered forever as a great gentlemne in Cricket history. we are proud that he is from our state. Karanataka has so many past great crickets in Indian cricket, but to sad to note that thier numbers are decreasing in Indian team. New breed must take our past cricketers as role models so that they can once again dominate in Indian side.

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  • Rao, Mangalore/Dubai

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Looks like the Maharashtrian problem has taken its toll on Indian cricket also. Although Kumble is humble to deny it, it is obvious that he decided to quit due to Vengsarkar's comments. Vengsarkar should look at his own career where he was sticking on to cricket despite his ZERO performance in countless number of tests.... I pity people like Vengsarkar who couldn't perform themselves but are first to critisice about someone like Kumble who has given his heart out to Indian Cricket. Well done Kumble.

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  • S.M. Nawaz kukkikatte, udupi

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Good Decision and Good Cricket by him. we cannot forget that you grab all 10 wickets against pakistan. really that one memorable for all indians. we wish you all the best

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  • Alfred J. Rebello, Kundapur/Dubai

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Well done Kumble. You have said good bye to the cricket with honour and before asks you to do. Though this was sudden but matured decision. You have served the cricket as well as the country sincerely. What you have achieved in the cricketing world will be remembered for long. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Keep going but in different field.

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  • Nihad, Gangulli

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    All the best for your future Mr. Anil Kumble he are one of the best player India ever produced we proud of you.

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  • Ronald , barkur

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    Frederick Correa has it right. This man, Kumble has been a joy all round: As a bowler, he has been outstanding as an individual noble and an ace professional ! Jim Laker and Anil Kumble share an immortal record, 10 victims in a Test innings. Who can ever outdo them ??

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  • Girish Bajpe, KSA, Jubail

    Mon, Nov 03 2008

    It is very sad to hear the news of retirement of Cricket legend Kumble. I love this great cricketer not only for spin art. But also for his great attitude in & out of filed. That makes him the good cricketer and memorable cricketer.

    On 2 Nov 2008 afternoon I heard the news of Kumbles retirement. Because of my busy schedule actually I got the enough time only afetr 9:oo AM to think much about Kumble. When I am reading the story of Kumble, realy I feel very sad. I feel that we are missing Kumble. From my childwood I watched the game of Kumble, read the achievement of Kumble and also wrote many articles about this Great cricket hero.

    Kumble you are really great cricket legend. It is not good to compare anyone with you. Eventhough Murali and Warne in forefront in the list of highest wicket takers. They are not equal to you. They are not free from controversy. But you are crystal clear. Kumble that makes you the Greatest cricket hero. We feel proud about you. Jai Karnataka, Jai Hindustan, Jai Kumble.

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  • Fredrick Correa, Nairobi, Kenya

    Sun, Nov 02 2008

    He is going to the dressing room in Nagpur to encourage the players. What a spirit! I am sure, at Nagpur India is going to win the series and it would be proper for Dhoni to give the honour of lifting the trophy to Kumble.

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  • bharath shetty , Kateel -USA

    Sun, Nov 02 2008

    Kumble is perfect fit to be called "Cricketing Legend"..Very few cricketrs show his commitment and determination. Not many can become Kumble. Many players played for Indian cricket. But KUMBLE will be remembered by everyone of us.

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  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala, Qatar

    Sun, Nov 02 2008

    If at the age of 38 Anil has decided to retire, he has judged himself gracefully. His record could be broken hopefully after many many years but not his polite behavior with utmost good manners. Success never went to his head. Still very much cricket is left in him to contribute for the country to share his successful experience in all parts of India / world. Kudos to Anil for all your great efforts. Yet even the best of the very best needs to go. Change is the only permanent thing in this world although we do not expect now Tendulkar, Dravid or Laxman to follow your suit ! Anil be proud of your great contributions to the cricket world and enjoy your remaining time with sweet memories.

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