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Anil Kumble retires
Manjrekar: 'He's always taken the right decisions'
November 2, 2008
A review of the career of a cricketer who has always been the leader of right ideas in Indian cricket
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'Every time Anil Kumble bowled well, Indian cricket benefited from it; there is no doubt that he has been a true match-winner' © Getty Images

It was an important moment today when Anil Kumble announced his retirement from Test cricket. I am feeling a little emotional because a very significant career and a very significant chapter in Indian cricket has come to an end.

He had severe limitations as a cricketer; he wasn't blessed with great natural gifts like some of the other players. But despite that, what he achieved in Indian cricket makes him a very rare cricketer. I doubt whether any other cricketer would have been able to extract so much from limited abilities. I have a lot of respect for people who do the best with what they have. What was also important was that every time he bowled well, Indian cricket benefited from it, which is something I consider as very important.

I remember in the 1990s we were chatting and looking at Kumble as a bowler and there was no doubt that when used to look at him we used to look at him as a match-winner. That's when he got the name 'Jumbo': this massive cricketer who just comes in and takes over and finishes the innings and wins games for India. That was Kumble in is prime. So he was indeed a very special cricketer.

His decision to retire was somewhat expected. It's a pity that he couldn't play through and captain India for the full series against Australia. Right through his career he has done the right thing. He has taken brave decisions and taken a brave stand. He has led the cricketers in so many issues off the field. He has been the leader of the right ideas as far as Indian cricket is concerned.

When Rahul Dravid quit as captain, Indian cricket was in a bit of a quandary as to who would take Indian cricket forward in Tests for a while, and Kumble's name cropped up. Typically he took up the challenge without thinking about the effect that it would have on his own career. He did an admirable job on India's last tour of Australia; he said the right things in the press conferences during what was quite a turbulent tour with so many incidents happening. He has done great things for Indian cricket. I have always looked at him as someone who could do no wrong. He works hard at everything that he does.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on management issues connected with cricket; we were about four or five speakers there, and one of them was Kumble. His preparations were so hectic; he was working hard on his speech that he was going to give to the corporates next morning. I could see the same kind of effort and discipline going into his preparations for his speech that he would put into his preparations for a Test.

He is a product of Indian cricket that Indian cricket needs to be proud of. I think the city of Bengaluru should be proud that it has created a character like Kumble. He is a true role model for all young, aspiring individuals who are not as blessed as the Sachin Tendulkars, Virender Sehwags and Yuvraj Singhs of this world.

Knowing the way Kumble is, I can bet that whatever he decides to do, now that he has quit the game, he will be very good at it as well. I am absolutely certain that he has got another long and illustrious career ahead of him. I wish him and his family all the best. And on behalf of Indian cricket I want to thank Kumble from the bottom of my heart for his immense contributions to the game. He has truly been one of the great, hardworking servants of Indian cricket.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. @sanjaymanjrekar

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Posted by Puranjoy on (November 3, 2008, 16:02 GMT)

It is the severe limitation of people like Manjrekar that even after 18 years of consistent performance under all kinds of conditions Kumble still has to listen to comments like these - "He had severe limitations as a cricketer". I believe that these people should be blessed with some more not so great natural gifts so that they can know what is talent and what is not.

Posted by Deepak on (November 3, 2008, 10:23 GMT)

Great work Jumbo. You are truely a great cricketer. Your contribution to the Indian Cricket is immense. You have won numerous matches for India. I have never seen anybody coming back to field with broken jaw and bowled 14 overs. Great approach for cricket and team. Your 10 wicket haul against pakistan is really a miracle and we all Indians will cherish it forever. Undoubtedly you are greatest spinner India has ever produced. And Jumbo dont worry about comments from former cricketer. They have done nothing for India and they can just speak. Their pathetic records show what they were. And your record stand tallest. You are truely a champion........... We all Indians salutes you for great entertainment and your service to Indian Cricket. All the best.

Posted by Soumyaditya on (November 3, 2008, 8:46 GMT)

One recurring incident that has left an indelible mark on my cricketing mind, is that throughout the 90's in ODIs whenever the bowlers were thrashed allover the park in the first 15 overs, Azhar or Tendulkar would toss the ball to Kumble and he would pick up a wicket and slow down run rate. This speaks volumes of Anil Kumble, the bowler. The way he handled the situation, the press as captain throughout the last Australian tour might as well be a case study in B schools.

Posted by Shishir on (November 3, 2008, 8:03 GMT)

I don't know why we should call Kumble a bowler who was not as blessed as Shane Warne. By that, we are only showing our points of view and our limitations, if you like. We are saying, "IF A BOWLER BOWLS THIS WAY, HE'S A GOOD BOWLER". However, a good bowler is one who makes life miserable for a batsman or one who puts terror in the batsman's mind. There are a no. of batsmen who just could not manage to play Kumble and would always be on tenterhooks when he came on to bowl. It was not as if batsmen said, "fine, he is not spinning the ball, still I'll give him my wicked". I stick my neck out and say, 'KUMBLE WAS IMMENSELY TALENTED, GUYS!". It's just that his talent was of a different kind of spin, that's about all. And his intelligence shone like beacon. And you have so called "talented" players like Yuvraj who can belt the ball only when it does not deviate even a milli meter. If the ball deviates from its line even a little, he's found floundering. And that is talent, is it?

Posted by Dinesh on (November 3, 2008, 6:02 GMT)

Im a sri lankan but I Respect this Great bowler from my heart. He has done a wonderfull job for indian cricket as well as the world sercuit. players like Kumble, Warne and Murali you get in very very rearly only so when you get those players you should know how to protect them and how to respect them. as a great fan of kumble i don't think that kumble got his deserving respect from some peoples in india. The way he won matches for india is unbelevable. India will miss him greatly in coming years. I would like to wish him all the success for his future.

Posted by losing on (November 3, 2008, 4:10 GMT)

Simply India's greatest test player ever. It is performance and results that matter not limitations. Sehwag has limitations too but he delivers.

Posted by Rahul on (November 2, 2008, 20:13 GMT)

It is right decison on right high crest time. I salute to his committment to nation through his hard work. We do not expect retirement of good people that from cricket but it's small part. Definitely, he will be in cricket for many years but not as a player. And looking for good futher contribution to Indian cricket.....Regards, Rahul Mandale

Posted by Shankar on (November 2, 2008, 15:06 GMT)

Good time from Kumble - not hanging on a la Kapil and tarnishing his reputation. He has undoubtedly been India's most significant match winner ever - batsmen don't win matches, 20 wickets do. I remmeber his great performances in Australia in 2004, bowling with his head in bandages just because India had a chance to win - we have all seen cricketers stay off the field for far less. And his leadership in Australia earlier this year was brilliant - off the field and on. He was classy when Ponting was immature. I doubt anyone else has ever done so much and has always had to prove himself. Anil Kumble gave 100% on the field all the time - he made Indians proud because of that and his wickets. Cheers, and thanks for the memories!

Posted by Mahesh on (November 2, 2008, 14:58 GMT)

I have a feeling that being captain hastened Kumble's decision today. He was under quite a bit of pressure knowing that Dhoni will get another chance come next test (and that too the decider) and the comparisons will start again. As a bowler he wasn't under much pressure as Mishra had an ordinary test in delhi too and Harbhajan has had an pretty ordinary series too!

Being on of the firsts to suggest Kumble's name for captaincy when Dravid quit, You definitely had a role to play in Kumble's retirement! :)

Posted by Yashasvi on (November 2, 2008, 14:10 GMT)

It's grossly unfair on Kumble that he keeps getting bracketed as a bowler who succeeded despite his limitations. Kumble, as a spinner, was vastly different, but in no way less talented, than others of his tribe. He took his inspiration from BS Chandrashekar, and realised early on in his career that the top spinner would fetch him more success than the conventional big spinning leggies. Also, as a tall man, he figured out that he could trouble the batsmen more by varying the bounce which he could extract off the wicket, as opposed to tossing the ball up. His bowling style was accordingly customised to suit his strengths. His grit, perseverance, determination and hard work only added to an immensely talented bowler.

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