Australia in India 2008-09 October 15, 2008

Kumble slams media sensationalism

Cricinfo staff

Anil Kumble: "And for those who are wondering, I'm feeling good. I am hopeful the shoulder injury I picked up during the match should be fine by the second Test" © Getty Images

Anil Kumble, the India captain, has hit out at the media's "uncharitable" comments on his fitness, calls for retirement, and his performance as a player and captain following India's hard-fought draw in the first Test against Australia in Bangalore. Kumble went wicketless in a total of 51 overs and a shoulder injury restricted him to only eight overs in the second innings.

In his syndicated column, Kumble said the media attention reminded him of the tour of Australia in January when he had to deal with several off-field issues, including the controversial Sydney Test which was marred by alleged racist remarks and cheating claims. On the vexed issue of retirement, he clarified that he will quit on his own terms.

"What has also been somewhat unexpected is the way the Indian media seems to have delighted in analysing and sensationalising every little action, remark or gesture," Kumble wrote. "I didn't really expect to have to go through this all over again on my home turf.

"That time, ten months ago, saw me unfortunately having to split my time between playing cricket and handling a host of unnecessary off-the-field issues, instead of being able to concentrate on playing the game and handling my team."

Kumble said he was confident of recovering fully in time for the second Test in Mohali starting on Friday. Dilip Vengsarkar, the former selection chairman, had slammed Kumble for not declaring his injury before the Bangalore Test and said he should not have played.

"And for those who are wondering, I'm feeling good. I am hopeful the shoulder injury I picked up during the match should be fine by the second Test and that it will be business as usual thereafter," Kumble said. "When I decide to make a final bow, I'll go on my own terms."

Kumble felt the criticism of India's performance in the Test was a little too harsh. Highlighting the positives, he said the bowlers did well to restrict Australia to 430 and praised Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan for scoring half-centuries after the seniors had failed in the first innings.

"Actually, I'm pretty happy with the way things panned out after we lost the toss. From the look of the pitch, this was a track on which 600 could have been made batting first. That the Australians took five sessions and more to make about 400 is a reflection on how wonderfully well our bowling unit performed.

"Harbhajan and Zaheer stood up and made sure they not only cut down the lead, but also showed everyone that our tail can handle this Australian attack with ease. It may also be noted that our four senior batsmen, Sachin and Rahul, Sourav and Laxman, all played a part in this Test."

He also singled out the bowling of Zaheer and Ishant Sharma - they shared 13 of the 16 wickets to fall - who "bowled with heart and spirit to shape the way this series might go." Looking ahead to the Mohali Test, he said the team certainly didn't lack self belief.

"I can't promise things I have no control over, but the one thing that I can guarantee is that I won't give up the fight. We won't. The belief that I have in my team, and the belief that the team has in me is what matters the most."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ALFRED on October 16, 2008, 20:33 GMT

    Not to forget, Kumble caught and bowled ponting in the first innings that was turned down as an half volley. If he would have got that wicket things would have been different for him and for India. Its better to rely on experience than to romp in a new comer in tests. Kumble had not faded in the last 2 decades and I am sure the Aussies are also wary about that fact. Leave him alone its good for Indian cricket.

  • sukhdev on October 16, 2008, 10:04 GMT

    Some people who blame the media and side with Kumble are forgetting that we are talking about a sport and not some benefit scheme or charity. In sport there is always competition and you either perform at the highest level or you leave. There is no room for sentimental nonsense about how long you served and how many runs you scored or wickets you took. Kumble is feeling the heat because he knows that as a bowler, he does not deserve to be in the team. His being a captain is compromising India's chances of winning this series. More seriously if Kumble speaks the language of 'I will leave on my own terms' then the only option he is giving to the selectors is to kick him out once they have had enough. How glorious is that?

  • BVK on October 16, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    Sice Kumble has said that he will quit on his own terms. So, Indian media should focus on encouraging him rather team. Remember that fielders too did not co-operate enough to see Kumble taking wickets. Fitness levels are to be maintained throughout the 5 days.

  • Tushar on October 16, 2008, 9:30 GMT

    Kumble might be right in venting his anger towards media, but his assessment of his own form and place in Indian team is way off mark. He is not the messiah that Indian cricket needs desperately. He should be realistic and pick 4/5 best bowlers on the day for the pitch, if he is one of them, very well, but if he is not, then its not end of the day.

  • Hitesh on October 16, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    I am really surprised the way people act. Every time we keep on picking on the seniors and want them to retire.......Give youngsters a chance has become a slogan....... Why give a chance let them make a chance...... let them make the fab 4 silly with their youth and game..... when the youngsters are given a chance they squander it..... none of them have cemented their place in the team..... Ganguly started with a century and again another one..... Dravid was consistent ..... Sachin blasted stalwarts then.... So they stayed.... Look at Dhoni he always is in the team..... Gauti has cemented himself others need to do that. There is no free lunch for anyone.Why are we insisting on Sachin's retirement he is only 35..... Lara played till he was 38 Inzy played till 38... Sanath 38 and still playing......why should we miss Sachin just to give chance to youngsters..... he is good fielder, a team player, adds to the team think tank, and is still a threat to the opposition.... His last 2 years record is good too....

  • dhiren on October 16, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    Unbelievable how every one is indulging in this debate. Anil Kumble after a bad performance is being questioned wrongly. He got injured during the first innings, after bowling 40 over. Aint that fitness enough?? Agreed he didnt pick up wickets. Even Lee got just 2 wickets. Did the Aussies slam their primary bowler that he is ineffective?? He couldnt get Bhajji & Zaheer out?? All know that MSD is going to be the future captain. It will happen in due course. When people start questioning bad performance of Kumble in a couple of test matches they forget all players have phases when they dont do too well. Take MSD's record in tests as batsman for instance he has done nothing of note. But you dont give up. You see talent you see ability and you stick with them. Have faith they will come up with the goods in this series. India will win... Kumble will ensure all critics have to eat their words... I have faith , do you ??

  • Dwayne on October 16, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    i wish that people would stop telling the seniors to "quit while theyre on top". Its the most absurd thing i have ever heard. If youre at the peak of your form, then why would you quit??? i totally support kumble on this. Just a year ago he was one of the top 10 bowlers in the ICC list and was consistently getting 3 wickets every innings. Give him a breakand a chance, he has been one of indias best spinners ever.

  • Silly on October 16, 2008, 3:17 GMT

    Whenever a senior player proclaims that he will leave on his own terms, it implies that regardless of his performance he expects to be on the team. If these players really want to leave on their own terms, they ought to do it before such questions are asked and leave on a high when they are still playing well. It is sad to see such great players, in many ways, cricketing heroes for an entire generation of Indian fans, just clinging to their spots in the twilight of their careers. Cricket today is a young man's game and fielding is as important as batting and bowling and the Indian Test fielding is downright pathetic. May be its the adulation, may be its the limelight, but by not bowing out gracefully, these players are not only doing a disservice to themselves, but also to the youngsters waiting in the wings. 20-20s don't breed test players. Anil, Dravid, Sachin,& VVS should chart out a timetable and exit with grace and not drag this out into a soap opera like Sourav.

  • Vinod on October 16, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    It appears that there is a great humbleness to Anil Kumble towrds the media comments. But we fail to accept the truth and the facts while we take the matter emotionaly.Lets admit the fitness to Kumble has been a long issue but due to his bowling speciality he was being considerd on the side and had to be placed on the field probably at a postion where less ball would come. Yes its difficult to decide when to retire and this is being encoureged by the authority otherwise by now we would have seen Ganguly ,Dravid and Laxman and probably Sachin as well out for retirement. By now we would have already replaced and groomed upcoming youngster .....Rohit Sharma who due to this seniors gets unjustified treatment .....this is just one example

  • venkata rama on October 16, 2008, 2:16 GMT

    I am really disappointed with the way Indian media has been dealing with one of the legendary cricketers, Anil Kumble. Dhoni hasn't played any significant innings for the last twelve months and nothing has been written about it. I think media is overly enthusiastic about every moment of the Big 5. Their failures are being shown in magnifying mirrors and creating unwanted pressure in the Indian dressing room. I don't know what sort of good is it going to do to Indian cricket.

    The most funny thing is that the former Chairman of selection committee Mr. Dilip Vengsarkar also made some bitter remarks, making Kumble responsible for the draw. He has to remember that he had also once been a cricketer and in no way he can be compared to Anil Kumble's stature as a dedicated cricketer. Kumble's absence will definitely boost up the morale of the opposition and will be a major set back to India. People have to remember that a lion is a lion whether it is young or old. All the best Mr. Anil.

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