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January 4, 2011
Anil Kumble, the former Indian legspinner who also captained Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), has withdrawn from this weekend's IPL auction, citing business and other commitments. The decision appears to have brought the curtains down on Kumble's playing career though he remains involved in the game's administration at the highest levels.
"It's a tough call but I had lots of things I had committed to," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I had a company to run, I wanted to be involved in other things. At some point of time you have to take a call and move on."
Kumble - who had a reserve price of US$400,000, the maximum possible, for the upcoming IPL auction - will remain associated with the Bangalore franchise as its Chief Mentor. He will be a part of the RCB's senior leadership team over the next three years. "As long as you're playing, you can't really start focussing on other things that you want to do ... It's not easy but it's a step you need to take and that's what has happened."
He retired from international cricket in 2008, and remains India's leading wicket-taker in Tests (619) and one-dayers (337). In November 2010, Kumble won the election to become president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, and had earlier been appointed chairman of the National Cricket Academy, based in Bangalore. He is also the vice-chairman of the state's wildlife board.
In the IPL, Bangalore had a forgettable inaugural season under Rahul Dravid, and started poorly in 2009 with Kevin Pietersen at the helm. Kumble took over as leader midway through that season and helped turn round Bangalore's form, taking them to the final, and also captained them to the semi-finals last year. He was among the most effective bowlers in the previous two seasons, taking 17 wickets with an economy of 6.42 in 2010, and 21 at an economy of 5.86 in 2009.
The IPL's chief operating officer Sundar Raman tweeted that Kumble's absence would be felt. "Jumbo [Kumble's nickname] will be missed in IPL. Been an inspiration for many youngsters."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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