It will not surprise those who are familiar with the low-key style of Anil Kumble that his retirement announcement during the tea break on Sunday took some of his own team-mates by surprise. Within minutes, it the cricketing world’s turn to be startled as the giant screen at the Feroz Shah Kotla displayed the message.
Then, after the day's play, it was time for Kumble to cut a cake after a host of speakers, including Sachin Tendulkar, Gary Kirsten and Kris Srikkanth, quickly summed up their thoughts on Kumble’s contribution, his achievements, and his legacy. Kumble, in turn, thanked every member of the Indian contingent individually, and took time to shake every hand and also for a few final hugs.
In between, there was time for some humour as well. A player turned to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and quipped: “You have two empty seats now” (the Nagpur Test will be Sourav Ganguly’s last). But for those who are familiar with Dhoni’s style, the gist of his instantaneous reply did not come as a surprise: “Nobody can replace those two”.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo