It was only the previous day he had put his resilience on display. With 11 stitches in his left hand, India’s Test skipper Anil Kumble walked onto the field and took the ball straightaway as the match wore on. He nailed Brad Haddin immediately, and followed it up with two more wickets.

But into the final session of the final day of the third Test, the champion leg-spinner has called time on his distinguished career. Kumble announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect.

The Indian captain’s decision follows that of Sourav Ganguly, who decided to quit after the ongoing four-Test series even before a ball had been bowled in Bangalore.

Kumble hung up his boots from the shorter version of the game last year, after India’s embarrassing World Cup exit in the Caribbean. The world’s third highest wicket-taker with 619 Test wickets was a determined man since, insisting that he would bow out on his own terms.

Kumble took over the reigns almost a year ago at the same venue, with Indian cricket frantically looking for a replacement for Rahul Dravid who had unexpectedly given up the captaincy on the day of India’s opening fixture at the Twenty20 World Championship.

After the refusal of Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni was raw until then, Sehwag was searching for form, in Ganguly they would never trust, Kumble took it upon himself. The results were already bearing fruit as he led India to a series win over Pakistan. But bitter things have happened since.

Since a bitter defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, Kumble has, like India’s other senior players, endured stinging criticism over their form and fitness. A ‘hurt’ Ganguly could take it no more. Injury, however, seems to be a bigger reason behind Kumble’s decision rather than the increasing clamour for the seniors to retire.

Indian cricket has come a long way in these 11 months. If India manage to topple Australia off their pedestal by the end of the series, Kumble’s career would have come a full circle.

Kumble’s retirement paves the way for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to take over full-time, after having led India to a 320-run victory in Mohali. Dhoni will lead India in the series-deciding contest in Nagpur, but Kumble’s name would be missing from the team sheet, after 18 years of relentless leg-spin.

source from cricketnext.com


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