Time for Kumble to go?


Rewind to the boxing day test in Melbourne. The Australian batsmen were dominating the bowling and the opening partnership had put in a 135 run stand and the momentum of the game had already started to swing towards Australia. Enter Anil Kumble, a man who has won more matches for India than any other bowler. He set about slowly picking up one wicket after the other and correcting the situation and after a five-for haul, the Aussies had squandered their advantage and were 9 wickets down at stumps. It is another thing that India eventually ended up losing the match. But Anil Kumble has been the go-to bowler for India for a number of years and he has for the most part delivered.

That has been until now…

The test figures of no wickets for 160 runs in this test has been his worst ever. He has never ever bowled in both innings of a match and gone wicket-less for the test. Never. Agreed, there were dropped chances and wrong decisions – and he wasn’t fully fit (which is no excuse, really!), but it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that he went wicket less in this game.

His bowling average has been 60 and 50 in the last 2 series (against South Africa and Sri Lanka) and what is even more worrying is the fact that they were played in relatively spin-friendly pitches of India and Sri Lanka. And now this – 0/160.

The debates on when and how the seniors in the team should retire has been going on for sometime now and whether some of the them should be dropped, but the focus has been more on the fab four.

I have been a huge fan of Kumble and he is probably one of the more likeable characters in this Indian team. But, age, fitness and weariness has finally caught up with him and if you were to pick four bowlers for the next game in Mohali, you wouldn’t necessarily pick him. But, what makes dropping Kumble difficult is the fact that he is also the captain of the team!

There were some rumors doing the rounds that with the shoulder injury in this game, Kumble may actually announce his retirement. But he quelled the rumor in the post-match interview by saying that he was hoping that his shoulder would be 100% before the Mohali test.

I thought that announcing his retirement at his home ground would have been a fine way for this cricketer to end his career. It could have also been the best thing for team India. 

-Mahesh-

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9 responses to “Time for Kumble to go?

  1. Kumble is a great bowler…no doubt in that…yeah it is the right time for him to announce his retirement.

  2. This test series is going to be fascinating, not just for the quality of cricket on display. Saurav has set the tone by announcing his retirement and rightly so (whatever the actual reasons may be). He will get felicitated every time he goes out to bat. Barring the first test which concluded where he was still under some pressure to justify his inclusion, he will bat with more freedom, knowing that it’s his last series.

    The other seniors are surely watching this and wondering if their time has come as well. A man like Kumble, who has done tremendous service to the team, will start to wonder if it’s worth going through the grind, at his age. The captaincy is the only thread holding his place in the team, based on current form. A great player like him might suddenly decide it’s not worth the scrutiny and feedback from the media/fans, being susceptible to injuries etc, especially with younger players knocking on the doors.

    It will be interesting to see how the minds of the seniors tick over the course of this series…Personally, I have been an ardent supporter/fan of the fab five and will remain so…but I’m starting to yearn for some change. I just feel it, like many others too perhaps. We might be heading towards uncertain times with the replacements, might have to go through some defeats…well, we have to go through it some time. With the way things are panning out, we might not have the luxury of doing succession planning for the middle order. The upside is that it might separate the chaff from the wheat and also help in making the younger players stronger, mentally.

    These are interesting times in Indian cricket…

  3. The saddest part for Kumble will come–as and when retires from test cricket–a tap on the shoulder from V Mallaya, the owner of Bangalore Royals–telling Anil K to retire from IPL as well or GET SACKED !!! Especially after last season’s debacle and war of words as to controls the team tactics!!!!

  4. In the history of Indian cricket, up until recently, I am aware of only 3 players who have quit on their own terms: Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri (from Tests and ODIs) and Anil Kumble (from ODIs). Of course, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar stepped away from the T20 scene last year. Most recently, Sourav Ganguly announced his retirement from Tests.

    The point I am making is this… These 5 fine gentlemen (Kumble, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman) have served Indian cricket exceedingly well. They are honest, thinking cricketers who can be responsible for, collectively, transforming Indian cricket. I believe we can be charitable in our comments at them.

    I am reasonably confident that they will know when the time is right for them to leave the scene.

    I am glad Ganguly announced his retirement. I personally feel that Anil Kumble will depart after England’s visit in December. Laxman will probably be the next to depart, perhaps after the Pakistan (Mar 2009) and NZ (April 2009) tours… a mass exodus will not be good for Indian cricket.

    Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Jeff Dujon and Gordon Greenidge departed the Windies scene almost at once — see where it got them!

  5. Agreed, Mohan. We do have to be charitable in our comments at them and that they are fine, thinking cricketeres. But something usually seems to cloud the judgement of cricketers when retirement time comes along.

    Let’s hope no such thing comes in the way of Kumble, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman. It would be sad to see them go, but it has to happen…

  6. I agree with you that retirement is probably the hardest thing to contemplate for most people — particularly for people in the spotlight. As I mentioned in another post, we have many many instances of actors having stayed on well after the stage lights have dimmed; of musicians having stayed on well after the sound engineer has left the studio! So also in sport. But let us remember also that Kumble DID quit one form of the game. There is evidence to suggest, therefore, that he will know when to quit. Moreover, Sourav Ganguly has set the trend. So, the other four will, I think (hope) follow suit.

  7. blogesh:
    The “charitable” comment was directed more at one of two other people on here.

  8. Mr Mohan
    Have u forgotten Javagal Srinath’s dignifed exit?????????????he could have played for couple of more years for sure. But quitting is also a good part of playing cricket friends

  9. Mohan, just curious…to whom was the “charitable” comment directed?

    I do agree, we have to be most gracious when we have to talk about the fab five. I’ve always felt sad, as a fan, when players (probably due to circumstances) don’t get the exit they deserve..

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