| Anil Kumble at the city airport on Monday night. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: The end of the Chittagong Test also drew curtains on Anil Kumble's best year in cricket's premier league ' testimony being 74 wickets in 12 matches.
'It's nice that I remain the most successful in 2004' Of course, I do realise never before have I had it so rich,' Kumble told The Telegraph on Monday night, shortly after landing from Dhaka.
The Biman service came late, forcing India's No.1 wicket-taker to miss his Bangalore-connection. He will now have to take the first flight on Tuesday.
Kumble, incidentally, was accompanied by the other Test-specialists ' Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik and Shib Shankar Paul. Barring Paul, the rest featured in India's huge win in Chittagong, earlier in the day.
A shade weary, Kumble added: 'I know Shane Warne is at No. 2, but I'm not sure of the number of his wickets'
[With one Test in hand, Warne is at 64 for the year.]
Asked whether he had actually reflected on what made the difference in 2004, Kumble laughed: 'I haven't found the time' Looking back now, though, being more relaxed has been a factor' Perhaps, I've matured more too'
The 34-year-old got overlooked for the three ODIs (against Bangladesh), which begin on Thursday, but iterated he wasn't 'disappointed' at not getting the chance to add to his 321 wickets.
'Today, I'm just looking forward to a break' I've been playing continuously mid July onwards and time off is needed to mentally prepare for the visit by Pakistan,' Kumble pointed out.
The Pakistanis, who got smashed in Perth the other day, are expected towards the end of February for three Tests and five ODIs.
Kumble, by the way, picked his 12 wickets at the SCG, in the year's opening Test, as his most satisfying performance. Next came the eight in Multan and 13 in Chennai, versus Australia, two months ago.
'Frankly, having had to choose was tough' Of the three I've picked, we only won in Multan, but the other Tests could have gone our way instead of ending in a draw,' Kumble explained.
Given that he may end 2004 as the world's No.1 bowler of the year, is he going to aim higher, numbers-wise, in 2005'
This time, Kumble smiled: 'Don't know' Simply playing is the priority' I can't talk about numbers, but the wickets will come.'
He isn't just the quintessential pro, but arguably among the most confident around as well.