Anil Kumble Announces Retirement From Test Cricket Video

Anil Kumble retired from Test cricket midway through the post tea session of the 3rd test at Delhi vs Australia. He could well turn up in the IPL, though. The decision he later said was made yesterday - with the stitches on his left hand making it difficult for him to play the Nagpur test and the murmurs over the past few weeks, Kumble probably thought of going when it was kind of still his choice.

Stuff available in the video:
  • Starts with an example of the growing murmurs – continued television coverage of him sitting it out during the Mohali test – what was worse though, was the constant juxtaposition of footage of him against that of the young and sprightly Dhoni. He gives a sarcastic thumbs-up in this particular footage.

  • Kumble’s last test wicket – 619th - that of Mitchell Johnson – insisting on taking the catch himself.

  • The news broken live by another legspinner – Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.

  • Anil Kumble’s final test delivery – quite anticlimactically a full toss put away (instinctively) for four by Matthew Hayden. Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan, VVS Laxman and later MS Dhoni (who almost seemed obliged to do it) take turns carrying Kumble in a last lap around the field. There were some funny moments there, especially with some weird guy bawling over the megaphone - Don't stop the applause, keep cheering and Chak De blaring all around.

  • Presentation ceremony with cool tributes by Ricky Ponting, VVS Laxman (man of the match) and Kumble himself talking about his decision.

Anil Kumble the captain was finished after the Mohali test was won under MS Dhoni – who had most observers salivating for a permanent change at the helm. Some might disagree, but this blog (like I suppose many others) after the 4th day of the Delhi test felt he had a couple of series as a player left in him. So a good time to go - when as a player you have a certain chunk of people thinking you can still hack it.

Now that he has been given a permanent job, Dhoni will have to use all the mental strength his cricket is built on and remember a variant of the old clich̩ Рpotential success has many people queuing up with a hard-on waiting to claim it as theirs, until it falters.

When Adam Gilchrist quit (watch videos of Gilchrist talking about retirement and Adam Gilchrist's final innings and farewell speech), he did so after a couple of weeks of growing criticism and it usually is the case with great sportsmen – to have a pretty harsh end that kind of gets forgotten in hindsight. Like now, everyone’s talking of how great Kumble was. So though there’s a short painful end, it kind of works out for most of the greats.

There were many times during his career that Kumble had every right to feel bitter. Until he overtook Kapil Dev as the highest wicket-taker, every other year of his career saw him having to earn his place in the team despite the two aspects of his cricket:
  • In test cricket, India’s formidable record at home is primarily because of Kumble. His Away record dramatically improved in the latter phase of his career and so did India’s record abroad.
  • In ODI cricket – for most of the years he played it, every time the runrate needed to be brought down or a breakthrough was required, the ball was thrown to Kumble.
The most remarkable aspect of his record is that if you discount Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - (who collectively account for only 53 of his 619 wickets, anyway; and Zimbabwe were pretty decent for a while especially at home with Andy Flower around), his performance is best vs the best team of his time - Australia - a strike-rate of 58.7, an amazing 7 lesser than his career strike-rate of 65.9.

Such was the Kapil Dev mystique that it was a scary thing to suggest for years, the possibility of India having moved on beyond an ’83 World Cup, and the emergence of someone who had contributed to more Indian victories. Now that Kumble has quit, a lot of his achievements will possibly be seen in perspective.

He’s probably having a cynical laugh if he’s watching the news. Or maybe he’s just happy.

Watch Day 5 highlights here