Bangalore: India’s most successful bowler, Anil Kumble, Friday announced his retirement from one-day cricket, his plans to “go with the ball in my hand” having been thwarted by his non-inclusion in the team’s last match in the World Cup which “hurt” him.
The 37-year-old leg-spinner, who has taken 337 wickets in 271 ODIs, bid goodbye to the game’s shorter version on an emotional note recalling his “long journey” that started in 1990.
“I wanted to go with the ball in my hand. It did not happen in the last World Cup. It feels a bit different to be a part of the team and not play. I was hurt at not being a part of the XI (against Sri Lanka on March 23), but took it in my stride,” he said.
The battle-scarred veteran will, however, continue to play in Test matches, having taken the highest number of wickets (547) by an Indian in this format too. He has played 113 Tests and the wickets have come at 28.65 runs apiece.
The expected announcement came two days after his return from the disastrous World Cup campaign in the West Indies where India failed to make it to the Super Eight stage.
“It has been a long journey that started in 1990. Today I formally announce my retirement from one-day cricket,” Kumble said.
“I thought of giving up ODIs four years back. Actually right throughout my career, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the team. It became a habit to be a part of the team,” he said.
Asked whether he had put a timeframe for his retirement from Test cricket, Kumble said: “I don’t know whether I will quit after 600 or 700 wickets at this moment.”
Speaking of the spin talent available in the country, Kumble said: “We have got good number of spinners. Harbhajan is still young at 26. We have Ramesh Powar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik also in line.”
About Harbhajan, Kumble said: “We rate him as the best. Who rates him as over-rated I don’t know. As players we rate him as a fantastic bowler and who has performed all these years.
“He has 250 Test wickets which makes him a much better cricketer than any spinner who has played for India. He still has a long way to go.”
Kumble, an engineering graduate, said that he had not made up his mind on what he would do after quitting. “For the past 17 years I haven’t done anything in engineering. But I feel my education qualification will come in handy at some point of time,” he said.
“Cricket is just a sport. When you play and win or lose, you feel cricket is more than a sport. But when you come back home and see your family and kids, you feel cricket is just a sport,” Kumble said.