Kumble bids adieu to one-day internationals

Published: Friday, March 30, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Ace leggie Anil Kumble, who had scripted many a victories for the country, on Friday announced his retirement from one-day internationals (ODI) after a chequered career, spanning 17 years.

Leading wicket taker for India in both the forms of cricket, Kumble had taken 337 wickets in 271 ODIs, besides claiming 547 Test victims from 113 matches.

''I would have liked to end my one day career on a high note, but it did not happen...it is not possible to have a fairytale ending every time,'' he told a crowded press conference at the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) here.

He said he had thought of giving up one-day cricket four years ago.

Though the 36-year-old veteran had declared to fellow mates his intention to retire before the team left for India from Port of Spain after Team India's ignominious exit from the World Cup in the opening round itself, Kumble formally announced the decision only on Friday.

Kumble, however, would continue to be available for the country for Tests.

''I still have some cricket left in me ... I would continue to play for the country in Test cricket,'' he said.

Kumble had not been an automatic selection in the shorter version of the game in recent times and he played in just one of India's three games at the World Cup - against minnows Bermuda, taking three for 38.

Kumble was best known for scalping all ten wickets in a Test innings against Pakistan in New Delhi in 1999, becoming only the second bowler to achieve the feat after Englishman Jim Laker.

About being sidelined many a times in the ODIs, Kumble, known for his cool composure, said ''it's not easy to sit in the dressing room despite being in the national squad. This World Cup was no different. However, a senior member need not be one in the eleven always. I did not come here to complain. This is part of the game. We have to understand the predicament of the coach and the captain to leave out a spinner.''

Thanking his family, captains, coaches and fellow Karnataka players for supporting him, he reminisced his cherished moments in the game, especially the one-day series in Sharjah which India won against Pakistan, receiving the Man-of-the-Match award from Goeffrey Boycott, the partnership between him and Javagal Srinath in the World Cup quarterfinals against Pakistan in Bangalore and his six-wicket effort in the Hero Cup.

''I felt the real intensity of the Indo-Pak clash only after we won the quarterfinal match in Bangalore.'' Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1996, Kumble made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 1990 in which he claimed a wicket, conceding 42 runs in a losing cause.

Kumble, the fourth highest wicket taker in Test history, was, however, not much successful in the ODIs. Kumble's efficacy in the limited overs had fallen away somewhat in the recent past, especially since he lost a bit of pace and zip after suffering a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2001.

However, his overall numbers still make for good reading: 337 wickets from 271 matches at an average of 30.89 and an economy rate of 4.30. His best figures, six for 12, came in the final of the Hero Cup against West Indies at Kolkata, which India won.

A recurring shoulder injury had forced Kumble to opt out of ODI and concentrate on Test matches. He pulled out of the recent home series against West Indies and Sri Lanka, paving the way for Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar to get a go ahead.

In December 2001, on his home turf in Bangalore, Kumble became India's second bowler and first spinner to take 300 Test wickets.

An year later, almost to the day, he passed the same mark in one-dayers. Against Australia in 2004-05, he pushed the Test mark past 400 - also in Bangalore - then skittled the Aussies in the next Test in Chennai with a spell of seven for 25. In March 2006, he became the first Indian bowler to reach 500 Test wickets, when he trapped Steve Harmison lbw in the Mohali.

Anil is a legend, says Dravid: Indian captain Rahul Dravid led tributes from the cricketing fraternity for the soft-spoken veteran, who made his debut in 1990.

"What Anil has performed for India over the last decade and a half has been legendary," said Dravid. "He is one of our greatest cricketers."

Former captain Kapil Dev, who held the previous Indian record of 434 Test wickets, said Kumble's hard work and dedication was a lesson for youngsters.

"Anil has really gone far than anybody could have imagined," he said. "I never thought he had so much ability, but with time and determination he went beyond anybody's imagination."

Kumble's career in figures

Jumbo dejected at India's hasty exit: Kumble said he was disappointed the team had failed to live up to expectations at the World Cup.

Touted as favourites back home, the 2003 finalists returned from the Caribbean on Thursday after being eliminated in the first round following defeats by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

"We are really disappointed. We definitely believed that we could go a long way in this World Cup."

"In terms of preparations I thought we had done everything. It was just that on that particular day against Bangladesh we lost and the format of the tournament was such if you lose a game, it was really hard to come back."

Already under fire for their performance, the players were described as "Artful dodgers" by the Times of India daily after they avoided the media on their return.

Kumble, however, tried to sum up the feelings of his team mates.

"If you look at the warm-up matches prior to the start of the tournament, we did well against Holland and won pretty convincingly against the West Indies. As players I think we are more disappointed and hurt," he said.

He said he had thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of one-day cricket.

"As a bowler it is not easy in the one-day game. I think in the last three to four years it has become a lot harder for a bowler to survive," he said.


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