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India v Australia, 3rd Test, Feroz Shah Kotla, 5th day
Ian Chappell: Kumble picked the right moment
November 2, 2008
The match fizzled out in a draw, Anil Kumble picked the right moment to announce his retirement
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Australia will be pleased with the improved form of Brett Lee © AFP

Anil Kumble has picked exactly the right moment to retire from Test cricket. He has done it when his powers are obviously waning a little through injury and just (from) the body having done so much work. But he can retire happy in the knowledge that he is passing on the baton to a captain who is well and truly ready to lead India in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and the fact that there's a young legspinner in Amit Mishra who has shown that he can bamboozle Test batsmen and is not out of his depth at that level.

The defining moment for me and it encapsulated the career of Anil Kumble was his last wicket in Tests. He had been angered by the young legspinner, misjudging a catch in the outfield and the very next ball he took off after a skied catch off his own bowling, charged back even with his bad hand, took the catch and turned around and fired the ball back at the stumps as if to say to the young man, who will take over his role as a legspinner in the Indian team, that is the sort of the effort that you've got to put in every day if you want to be at the top of the game.

So Anil Kumble has been a magician for India, more than 600 Test wickets but his legacy is much, much more than that. He has earned the respect of all his opponents and he has been ultra-competitive on the cricket field but never once has he compromised his dignity or his integrity. He really has been a credit to the game and to Indian cricket, and Indian cricket will miss him. If young Mishra learns that last lesson that Kumble taught on the cricket field then Kumble will still be having a positive effect on the Indian team even in retirement.

The match itself fizzled out in a draw, and it was basically expected. There was a bit of flurry from Australia, they will be pleased by the improved form of Brett Lee. Their batting was much improved and they will go in with a lot more confidence into the last Test match in Nagpur, but there still is a black hole of the spin bowling which will be a major concern to the Australian team.

I think it's reached a point, being one down with one to go they probably got to take a bit of a punt and play the offspinner Jason Krejza. If he has his nerves under control then he is a bowler who really does impart some spin on the ball and they do need a bit of variety to their attack.

So both teams will have a few days to gather themselves. India, I am assuming, will have Harbhajan Singh available, so he will immediately slot in to take Kumble's place in the side, and that's not a bad replacement. And I am not expecting that the ICC will get its act together in time to have the appeal and keep Gautam Gambhir out of this last Test match.

It was a very hard-fought match and both teams came out with some positives, but they will go into Nagpur knowing that Australia really do have to go on the attack and India have got the upper hand as long as they don't take the approach in the final Test match that we are 1-0 up and we are satisfied with that position and we will just play to stay in that position. They did it in the last year at The Oval against England, when they could have won 2-0. If they take that same approach here then that will get them into trouble against a side like Australia that just does not know how to lie down.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a a columnist

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Posted by anantha on (November 3, 2008, 18:03 GMT)

Well done Anil for the past 18 years. your decision is a right one taken at a right time. I feel only less cricketers like you play honestly for the country. Now, the ground kotla will be remembered for two occasions. First, because of your all time great ten wickets and next is your final best. I hope you will be remembered long time and your records will be never going easy for an indian to achieve. Out of these years I top three occasions. One with srinath you finish a crucial victory match towards australia in bangalore. Next, your partnership with azhar for 88 runs in kolkata against south africa. Third is the final match of Hero cup. (Six for twelve runs). Amazing indian. Hats off.

Posted by Sardar on (November 3, 2008, 11:17 GMT)

I think Brett Lee and Stuart Clark will hit back in next test.they are the big players yet to perfrom in this series and they are too good not to perform in a whole series.

Posted by Siva on (November 3, 2008, 9:55 GMT)

Anil Kumble was a true champion and gentleman. He played for his team and country from his heart. No one can question his commitment and passion when playing for team and country. Anil was the embodiment of an unassuming role model for current and future generations. He is a perfect example to show that if you believe in your abilities and put in the hard yards, then the results will follow.

Posted by chaitanya on (November 3, 2008, 4:47 GMT)

Anil Kumble was and will remain the grittiest and one of the the most courageous cricketers India have ever produced. He played his cricket with passion and gave his all every time he went into the field, broken-and-bandaged-jaw notwithstanding. People are entitled to have off days at the office some time during their careers but Kumble fought harder in those days - for his team, team-mates and country. This is the testimony to his being a team-player first and foremost. Hats off to the soldier, no, General named Anil Kumble! Now that Dhoni will be in charge of the test team as well, it will be interesting to see whether he would decide to "rest" from the tests for a series or two as he did in Sri Lanka, when an unorthodox batsman like him would have come in handy for Kumble. I am sure Kumble would have soldiered on if he was in Dhoni's place for his captain, fatigue or no fatigue.

Posted by sai praneeth on (November 3, 2008, 4:42 GMT)

A wonderful and glorious career has to an end...i like ur view that Kumble has taught a lesson to his young teammate amit Mishra about what it takes to be on top with that splendid catch (his last wicket)...he has been a great inspiration for many people in India and I am one of them....KUDOS to KUMBLE..

Posted by T on (November 3, 2008, 3:31 GMT)

To bis_d, please stop telling Sachin and VVS when to retire. Somehow, we tend to become experts to tell people when to retire. Sachin, VVS or Dravid like Kumble and Ganguly will know when to retire. They don't need your help. The cricketers have achieved more than most people due to a rare quality in them of trusting your instincts and I think that they should be allowed to know when to do what with their careers.

-T from Perth

Posted by Warrick on (November 3, 2008, 2:13 GMT)

Kumble has retired - well done sir.

What is all this tripe about Aus in India, and the role of captaincy, or a quality spinner, or whatever else?

In India, you win the toss, "bat first - bat long - bat once". Australia won the toss in the first test, batted first, and were on top the whole game but couldn't get through on the last day. Second test India won the toss, batted first, were on top the whole game and thanks to a brilliant spell of 5/20 either side of lunch on day 5 came up with the win. Third test India win the toss, bat first, but cannot get and stay on top despite two double-centuries.

And exactly how is Australia supposed to scare and run through Indian batsmen with a spinner??? Even our best recent (possibly ever) spinner had a horrible record in India and didn't win us any matches in India with his bowling, so talk about uncapped finger spinners suddenly doing the job is ludicrous.

The wickets prepared are so flat, almost no results are possible.

Posted by Sanjiv on (November 3, 2008, 1:59 GMT)

Congrats to Kumble for the wonderful career. For India, the job is still half done with the draw of the 3rd Test. India must play with positive frame of mind and win the series, so that they can celebrate winning the Border- Gavaskar Trophy along with the retirements of Kumble and Ganguly. And also, the 100th test of VVS Laxman. Dhoni must lead with an example as shown in the 2nd test. Remember, Australia will do everything possible to win the last test even risking losing for the sake of it. Beware, India! its do and die battle for Australia. India must attack and play fire with fire. Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia.

Posted by Lucky on (November 3, 2008, 1:49 GMT)

I Salute Anil Kumble For Giving Such Great Entertainment For The Past 18 Years. Truly The Greatest Leg Spinner India Ever Had. He Is A True Gentlemen Cricketer. A Very Friendly Personality. He Chose The Right Time To Retire, Hope The Other Big Names Will Follow Suite. Now Dhoni Can Be Made Captain In Both Versions Of The Game. Hope Anil Will Give Back Something To Indian Cricket, In Some Other Form. He Is A Good Example To All Young Cricketers. I Wish Him All The Best In His Future Work. Good Luck!

Posted by TOM on (November 2, 2008, 22:51 GMT)

It is the end of a great test career but trouble looms for Australia because as Captain, Anil Kumble was unadventurous against Australia. In both this match and the drawn test in Adelaide early this year, he let Australia off the hook. He had batsmen ready to go at the end of the 4th day with a lead in hand and he refused to chase victory. In Adelaide, at stake was leveling the series 2-2. Yesterday it was winning the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Would Mahendra Dhoni have a more aggressive approach? He batted up the order in the previous test to get quick runs rather than risk Dravid plodding along.

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