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Oz media pays tribute to Jumbo

The media Down Under bestowed glorious tributes to Anil Kumble but insisted that the Indian spin legend went out as a 'spent force' in the face of injury breakdowns and dip in a form.

cricket Updated: Nov 03, 2008 11:28 IST

The "ultimate dusty-deck destroyer and one of the true gentlemen of the game" was how the media Down Under paid tribute to Anil Kumble, but insisted that the Indian spin legend went out as a "spent force" in the face of injury breakdowns and a dip in form.

"He leaves as the ultimate dusty-deck destroyer, Test cricket's third-highest wicket-taker and a reputation as one of the true gentlemen of the game," wrote The Daily Telegraph paying tribute to the 38-year-old's 18-year career, which ended with a draw against Australia in New Delhi on Sunday.

"It was the right move by the veteran leg-spinner, who had been under pressure on several fronts. With only three wickets in this series to that point, and with a miserable captaincy record of three wins in 14 Tests, it was time for the 38-year-old to go," it added.

Noted cricket writer Peter Roebuck felt the decision was well-timed as Kumble's magic was fast on the wane, highlighted by just three wickets that he took in the ongoing series against Australia.

"Kumble's retirement was timely. Throughout his career the old warrior has been a master of worn pitches. In the past few years, his powers have waned and the sorcerer has become a spent force," he said.

Describing Kumble as a hard-working cricketer, Roebuck said his workman-like approach set him apart from a maverick like Shane Warne.

"Whereas Warne was a gambler with a hand of aces, the Bangalorean was a dentist armed with a drill. Once he had the victim on his chair nothing escaped his attention.

"He has always been willing to bowl, has always been grumpy and fierce and competitive. Batsman might master him but none could destroy his will," Roebuck said.

"He never gave up, and with unyielding will and high intelligence, made the most of his abilities. He scored a Test hundred and never let his side down. A thousand pities the Australians did not speak to him in Sydney.

"Throughout he has retained his dignity, it has been an immense contribution, and he did not outstay his welcome by a single day. Even in his retirement he served the side and Indian cricket," he added.

The Australian, meanwhile, called Kumble a giant of the game who unfortunately did not make a very successful captain.

"While Kumble will not be remembered for his captaincy, he was a giant as a player," wrote the daily.

The newspaper said Kumble's retirement paves the way for Mahendra Singh Dhoni as skipper, which is a step in the right direction for Indian cricket.

"It is fitting that Dhoni, the bubbly and charismatic one-day and Twenty20 captain, should take over the side."

Roebuck agreed and said Kumble, for all his fighting spirit, would not have been able to battle the injury breakdowns.

"Harbhajan was waiting in the wings and Amit Mishra had been taking wickets. Dhoni was ready to take over. And his pal Rahul Dravid was near the end. Also, he was just plain sore. Man cannot keep fighting, not against his own body. Sooner or later he must listen to it," he explained.