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Kumble retires from one-day cricket

The veteran leggie, however, makes clear that he would continue playing Tests.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Bangalore
UPDATED ON MAR 30, 2007 11:42 PM IST

Anil Kumble, India's most successful bowler in one-day cricket and a perfect teamman, announced his retirement from ODIs on Friday, making it clear he would be available for the Test matches.

"I wanted to go with the ball in my hand. It did not happen in the last World Cup. It feels a bit different to be a part of the team and not play. I was hurt at not being a part of the eleven but took it in my stride.

"I spoke to my colleagues and stayed on. This World Cup we had a good chance but unfortunately it did not go our way. It’s time for me to pass the mantle to young players," said 37-year-old Kumble. "It has been a one long journey since 1990. Today I formally announce my retirement from one-day cricket," Kumble said. "I thought of giving up ODIs four years back. Actually right throughout my career I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team. It became a habit," said Kumble.

Of late, Kumble was bogged down by a recurring shoulder injury, which often needed pain-killing injections, and he had reached the career crossroads where he had to take this decision to prolong his Test career.

A proven match-winner in the longer version of the game, Kumble, surprisingly, was never an automatic choice in one-dayers and often had to pave way for younger spin colleague Harbhajan Singh.

In this World Cup too, Kumble played just one match, picking up 3 for 38 against Bermuda, while Harbhajan was preferred for India's matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Incidentally India's lone win in the World Cup came against Bermuda.

"It's always nice to finish on a high note. Unfortunately, it does not seem to happen. There is not always a fairytale end. Hopefully it will happen when I leave Test cricket," he said.

Ironically, for someone who was not a certainty in one-day cricket, Kumble boasts of the best ODI figure by an Indian bowler. It was back in 1993 when he grabbed six wickets for 12 runs in the final of the Hero Cup at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and it's yet to bettered.

For someone who started as a medium pacer, it was almost inevitable that Kumble developed a faster delivery which often gatecrashed through batsman's bat and pad to rattle the stumps.

Kumble was a perfect teamman too.

In the 2002 Antigua Test, Kumble had his jaw fractured by a Mervyn Dillon snorter but that could not stop him from taking to the field again to bowl, jaws heavily strapped, and make a brave statement.

But the greatest moment of his career came in 1999, when he became the only second bowler, after Jim Laker, to claim all 10 wickets in a Test innings against Pakistan in Delhi.

Kumble never played to the gallery and never gave up even in the face of harsh criticism.

His deliveries would skid, rather than spin, and that did not woo the fans but perfectly served the team. He did not have Muttiah Muralitharan's turn or Shane Warne's guile but his probing accuracy, variation in pace and the ability to extract bounce from dead pitches saw him return with respectable figures.

In an era dominated by prodigal turners like Warne and Murali, Kumble earned his place to be in the same bracket.

"Cricket is just a sport. When you play and win or lose, you feel cricket is more than a sport. But when you come back home and see your family and kids, you feel cricket is just a sport," he said. "I cherished a lots of partnerships and memories. I thank my teammates, all the coaches and captains who supported me right through my career," Kumble said.

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