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Anil Kumble bows out at his favourite venue!

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India’s greatest bowler ever Anil Kumble has announced his retirement from international cricket to end an 18-year-old long journey. During the post tea session, came a statement from the on-air commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan that Anil Kumble has announced his retirement and that the Kotla Test was his last of the career. Kumble made it clear during the post match interviews that he would have anyway retired after the end of this ongoing series. But the finger injury that he had sustained during the third day’s play had made him to announce his decision a test match earlier. The 37-year-old would have been ruled out of the fourth test as his injury would not have healed so quickly.

Anil Kumble admitted that his body was no longer allowing him to bowl at his highest standards and it was time to move on. The great leg spinner said that he had come to the decision yesterday and had started to inform his team mates, the Board and the Selectors by afternoon. Although TV viewers came to know about the breaking news around 3 o’ clock, the fans in the stadium could understand the situation only during the innings break when they were informed via the electronic screens and announcements during the innings break. The organizers requested the crowd to stay till the end to cheer Kumble for one last time which they did with a lot of spirit. Kumble bowled 4 overs in the short Australian second innings and remained wicketless. He has ended his career with 619 Test wickets besides 337 wickets in ODIs. Kumble will be seen in action though during the IPL because of his prior obligations. It was fitting enough to retire at the Feroz Shah Kotla for Kumble as this was the place where he had taken as many 55 wickets in just six tests prior to this match and that includes a magical all 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999.

Kumble’s retirement comes at the right time for both him and the team. His captaincy lacked the sharpness and his bowling was pedestrian in the last few series. With Amit Mishra showing that he is an international class bowler and Dhoni proving his leadership abilities, it was the right time for Kumble to step down and take it easy. Nobody can deny the fact that Kumble goes in the history books as the best bowler in Indian Cricket. He delivered the goods whenever his team needed a breakthrough or needed to stifle down the aggressive batsmen. Kumble started off his test career in 1990 in England. His career started to grow during the 1993 home series against England where he proved his lethal ability to take wickets in a hurry. One of the highlights of his career was a mean and destructive 6 for 12 against West Indies in the Hero Cup Final. Kumble since 1993 was a big match winner for India. He was unplayable in the sub continent during his prime and in the first half of his career had struggled to replicate the same kind of success in overseas conditions. But with time, Kumble added more of the subtle varieties in his bowling to even start taking wickets in countries like Australia, South Africa and England.

Nicknamed as ‘Jumbo’ for his ability to get the ball to kick off wickedly, Kumble has figured in a total of 132 Test and 271 ODIs. It was his sheer determination that has got him around 1000 international wickets despite the fact that he was never a genuine turner of the cricket ball. His strengths were the nagging accuracy, the never-say-die character and of course the extra bounce that he could generate to trouble even the best of batsmen. Kumble would never give any rest for the batsmen facing him, he would always keep coming after them. In 2007, Anil Kumble was finally rewarded with the Indian test Captaincy after Rahul Dravid’s resignation. Under Kumble, India saw some exciting Test victories in England, West Indies, Australia and Sri Lanka. He even added a feather to his great career by scoring a maiden test century in England in a series when none of the famous Indian batsmen could register three figures. Kumble has been a fighter even with the bat and has always made the opposition bowlers to toil hard for his wicket. He just possessed a cover drive and a square cut at the most but still went onto score around 2500 test runs with 5 fifties and that lone hundred in England. It will take some time for India to replace this great cricketer but there should be someone for sure who will be filling up the big boots with time.