Bangalore, Nov 4: A day after announcing his retirement, Anil Kumble on Monday refuted suggestions that he had been under pressure from the cricket establishment to quit and made it clear that there was no "retirement scheme" under which senior Indian stars were calling it a day.
"There was no talk of BCCI telling any player to retire. I don't think any player needs to be told about when to retire. It (the reported retirement plan) is all false," Kumble said.
"Nobody told me when to retire. Sourav (Ganguly) took his decision, I took mine, there was no pressure. Let's leave it to the individuals. Criticism is fine but don't do it without reason. Don't start questioning the players' ability. There is no retirement scheme, that's rubbish," he retorted when pressed on the issue.
Kumble's comments came in the wake of speculation that he was under pressure to announce his retirement and Ganguly, who is to retire at the end of the Nagpur Test this week, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had all been given a deadline by the Cricket Board to hang up their boots by the end of India-England series this year.
Kumble said his successor Mahendra Singh Dhoni would prove to be a successful captain and Indian cricket was safe under his leadership.
"This is the right decision and now I hand over this role to Dhoni. We have a very able leader in him. Team is also looking very nice I am sure it will continue to move forward. Indian cricket is in safe hands," he said.
Asked about Dilip Vengsarkar's comments that his time was up a day before his retirement, Kumble said he prefers not to take such statements personally and instead thanked the former chief selector for giving him an opportunity to captain the Indian Test side.
"It is something which I don't take personally. That's his opinion. I don't know about it, some journalists came to me and told me about what he had said. I don't read newspapers so I don't know. But thanks to Dilip I got to be the captain of the team. I am thankful to all those who made it possible," he said.
On his future plans, Kumble said he is working towards opening an academy for budding cricketers.
"There are plans to start an academy, not immediately but in a couple of months. The groundwork has already started. I take interest in photography
as well so may be I will try my hand at that," he said.
Kumble rated the tour Down Under earlier this year as toughest of his career as it required handling off-field issues that ranged from a race row to a bitter umpiring dispute.
"Every match is tough but the Aussie series was really tough. I had to handle a lot of things off the field. So it was hard and challenging," he said.
"So there were a few lows but that's part of the game. Its a tough day for me even today because my father passed away this very day five years ago," he added.
His retirement took almost everyone by surprise but Kumble insisted that he had made his plans known to people who mattered.
"There is no communication gap. There are so many news channels now. There is so much media involvement that you guys want a constant dialogue. You can't have that because certain things have to remain within the set-up," Kumble said.
"I think you should respect that and respect the cricketers. Don't pass judgments on their careers," he added.
Kumble said the only pressure he had to deal with was the one to perform and that was common for all his team-mates.
"There is pressure to perform on all the players. As a team we need to achieve results. Unfortunately, people start focussing on individuals and forget that it's a team.
"And as long as we do well as a team, it will be great. One day, which is soon, we will dominate world cricket," he asserted.
Asked whether the captaincy came a bit too late for him, Kumble said, "Captaincy came at the right time. Whatever is not in my control I am not worried, whatever happens, happens for good."
"I have performed really well. I have taken a decision at the right time. I am at peace after taking this decision. I want to take some time off now, it will be nice for a change."
However, Kumble said he would miss the Indian dressing room.
"You do miss the dressing room. But I will see them achieve their goals," he said.