November 2, 2008

An underrated giant

Kumble reduced bowling to its essentials, like an artist who simplifies but still retains the meaning of his work
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Anil Kumble: polite, gentle, supremely gifted and modest to a fault © AFP
 

The spirit was willing but the flesh was 38 years old. Ultimately time, the sportsman's greatest enemy, claimed Anil Kumble. Pragmatic and inevitable it may be, but Kumble's decision will bring a lump to the throats of his fans, for he was not just a great bowler, he was a great inspiration. It has become a cliché to say that he was a great competitor; he fought hard without once compromising on dignity or integrity, and that is as important as the number of wickets he took.

The sight of Kumble emerging from the pavilion in Antigua six years ago, ready to bowl, his face bandaged, is one of cricket's most inspiring. He sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw. He was due to fly back to Bangalore the following day for surgery, and as he said, "At least I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best."

"It was one of the bravest things I've seen on the field of play," said Viv Richards.

There is something about sportsmen from Karnataka. The best are polite and gentle, supremely gifted but modest to a fault; they are old-fashioned gentlemen who respect what they do. Think Prakash Padukone or Gundappa Viswanath or BS Chandrasekhar or Rahul Dravid. Kumble fit into this category easily. He remains the same, unaffected soul who began his international career 19 years ago, slightly surprised at being elevated to the highest grade so early.

Every time I called him to wish him luck before a landmark, he would respond with, "Hope you'll be there." After claiming ten wickets in an innings in Delhi, he sent me a copy of the scoresheet signed by him.

He played 41 Tests fewer than Kapil Dev to go past Kapil's Indian record of 434 wickets; he bowled India to more victories than the entire spin quartet of the 1970s, yet he was condemned to being defined by negatives. The pundits told us he did not spin the ball, that he did not have the classic legspinner's loop, that he did not bowl slowly enough to get the ball to bite. Kumble was described by what he did not do rather than by what he did.

Why do we underrate Kumble, India's greatest match-winner? There are two reasons. One is the nature of the man himself. Kumble is undemonstrative and quietly confident rather than a noisy performer drawing attention to his deeds. The other is the nature of the aesthetics of cricket appreciation. This involves snobbery of a kind that is not associated with any other sport. It is more blessed to make a stirring 30 full of poetry-provoking strokes than a dogged half-century that might lead to a victory. This is the game's conceit - it is better to score a flamboyant 25 than to win, or to bowl that extravagant googly that has 50,000 spectators catching their breath than to get a batsman bowled with a straight delivery.

The Australian legspinner Arthur Mailey summed it up when he said, "I'd rather spin and see the ball hit for four than bowl a batsman out by a straight one." This is romantic but ridiculous. Neville Cardus gave this attitude a wide press. He famously wrote: "Who cares for the tussle for championship points if a Ranji be glancing to leg?" By equating the artistic with the beautiful Cardus divorced performance from result and ensured that in the mind of the "true" cricket lover the means would be more important than the ends.

 
 
As befits an engineering student, Kumble was comfortable with angles and understood that the difference between a good delivery and a bad one is only a matter of inches
 

The dramatic and the vivid can be artistic too, and if there is no great beauty in Kumble's bowling, there is certainly drama; and by being on the winning side in 43 Tests Kumble has displayed effectiveness too. Erapalli Prasanna once suggested uncharitably that Kumble would not have found a place in the Indian teams of his time. Yet, of the 98 Tests in which one or the other of Prasanna, Bishan Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Srinivas Venkatraghavan played, India won only 23. This is not to show who was the better bowler but simply to lend some perspective. In the combined 231 Tests that the quartet played, they claimed 853 wickets. Had Kumble played that many he would have finished with 1083 wickets, for his strike-rate per Test, 4.69, is the best among that group. To look at it from another angle, Richie Benaud's is 3.93 and Shane Warne's 4.88.

Another way of looking at the figures is from the perspective of balls per wicket. Here too, among Indian spinners Kumble leads with a ball every 65.5 deliveries, just ahead of Chandrasekhar. Benaud needed 77 deliveries and Derek Underwood 74. Kumble is among the finest to have played the game.

He reduced bowling to its essentials, like an artist who simplifies but still retains the meaning of his work, or a dancer who cuts out unnecessary flourish.

There is no percentage in spinning across the face of the bat. The ball has to deviate only a couple of inches to miss the middle and take the edge instead. As befits an engineering student, Kumble was comfortable with angles and understood that the difference between a good delivery and a bad one is only a matter of inches. The amount of bounce he was able to generate often surprised batsmen; spin by itself is harmless unless accompanied by bounce. Above all he was able to create a doubt in the batsman's mind.

It is not necessary for beauty and effectiveness to work together. A Bishan Bedi is the exception rather than the rule. Beauty without cruelty is meaningless in sport. Dismissing batsmen is a cruel trade (from the batsman's point of view). You don't need beauty for that; just skill and a large heart. Anil Kumble had both. Let us celebrate that.

Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RameshSrivats on November 6, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    Lovely article. Kumble was always underrated because our culture values ease over grit. You can read my tribute to him at http://www.rameshsrivats.net/2008/11/student-toiler-soldier-leader.html

  • rajesharcot on November 4, 2008, 19:05 GMT

    Mr /suresh, as a fellow bangalorean i do fully agree that kumble, dravid, chandra or vishy all are gentle giants during their times. compare this with a gavaskar, shastri, bedi or a ganguly. my cribbing point is that you journos like to highlight only the sparky part of the match to earn brownie points trp etc. after a great man is retired we speak about a kumble or any other bangalorean from a moral high ground. when we learn ??? or is this the law of the jungle?? where the loudest or strongest man is correct or will be heard???.

  • amiraj on November 4, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    Anil Kumble the name that not only Indians will take with honour but all cricket follower from whole world will have to take hats off to him. I still can remember how he bowled out more than half of the west indians team at Eden garden in Day night ODI. But I hope he only out of Indian team not from Indian cricket. My best to him and Saurav as well.

  • Jaisnair on November 4, 2008, 9:42 GMT

    This is the first time I am commenting on a blog. I simply had to do it. Coz one of my favourite cricketers i.e. Anil has called time. Thanks a lot Anil for all the wonderfull memories. 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in the 1999 Delhi Test. Bowling with a broken jaw in the 2002 Test against the W.I. , getting rid of Salim Malik in the tense Indo-Pak World Cup Quarterfinal of 1996 at Bangalore. I can go on but these are the few that come to my mind. You have been a role model for hundreds of budding cricketers in the the way you have carried yourself on the field.I take a bow, Anil. Wish you all the Best in ur post cricketing life....

  • manavatchicago on November 3, 2008, 21:29 GMT

    Cont.......

    For those who enjoy stats, just go through the following stats of cricket, please go throught the stats of Indian Cricket God (Sachin Tendulkar) and tell me which year the God should have said farewell to the game: Grouping Span Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St year 1990 11 239 53 23.90 0 2 2/39 32.00 0 3 0 year 1993 18 319 82* 24.53 0 4 1/6 50.00 0 4 0 year 1997 39 1011 117 30.63 2 6 2/61 72.33 0 14 0 year 2000 34 1328 146 39.05 3 20 4/56 41.75 0 11 0 year 2005 16 412 123 27.46 1 8 5/50 31.50 1 6 0

    I still do remember last days when entire team supported our other great hero Kapil Dev to break Sir Richard Hadlee record. Just a simple question, was he not our hero? How often do we go back and check his last days to validate and question his retirement days. Then why for Anil Kumble. Its a time to salute our hero who is leaving us and going to become part of our history.

  • manavatchicago on November 3, 2008, 21:19 GMT

    I am new to this commenting thing; In fact I have just created my account. It has been really great pleasure and honor to witness a great player like Anil Kumble play for India during my life period. And his retirements fills me both with joy and sorrow; joy to give me a moment to look back and recall all those great moments of his career reflecting his humbleness and dedication towards game and the team, also sorrow at the same time to realize that we will never see him playing again.

    Both this joy and sorrow had been good but after going through various comments here I got discover another feeling within myself and it was that of disappointment and sadness. Its not due to his retirement but the comments people have made by laying and putting stats of his last year cricket. And the main reason I felt I should respond is the fact that I did not want such comments to tarnish the glory of associated with this moment. To Be Cont.......

  • Nampally on November 3, 2008, 20:57 GMT

    Anil Kumble is the greatest leg spinner ever to have played for India. It is sad to see the end of a great career but just like our life all cricketers also come to an inevitable end of their playing careers. Kumble played the game hard with humility, character and in the true spirit of cricket. He led the team with dignity and commanded the respect of one and all. He efven showed Ponting & the Aussies how to play Cricket in True spirit of the game despite terrible umpiring decisions. In the same vein he quit the game at the right time with diginity and without any fanfare.It is impossible to replace any "great character" effectively but other youngsters like Chawla, Mishra and Ojha are capable of filling the role without Kumble's characteristics. Kumble's wicket total and the way he did them will remain peerless. He will remain on top of the podium amongst the outstanding Indian cricketer along with the "Fab 4", Farewell to an Engineer with a Ph.D. in legspin from a Ph.D. Engineer.

  • chinmaypatil on November 3, 2008, 20:24 GMT

    The author has made a very good point about Kumble. More than 600 wickets in tests and more than 300 wickets in ODI's speak for themselves. Let me remind you this is achieved by a man who is still learning leg spin:-). He has been a match winner for India for all these years...A fighter cricketer. Cricket at its very core is a game where bowler's aim is to beat the batsman and knock out the stumps. Kumble has been a master at this art. Most of his dismissals are either bowled or LBW's. Definitely one of the best spinners India has ever produced. Thanks a million for all the entertainment and wishing you all the very best for your life. Hope to see you in some role in Indian Cricket in the future!!!

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 3, 2008, 19:15 GMT

    (..Cont)

    The only person who pips him is Murali, but there is no shame in being a second to him (albeit quite distant, by this yardstick)

    Factor in his longevity, the number of victories engineered by him and more importantly his relentless accuracy, persistence, courage (broken jaw, stitched fingers) & never-say-die spirit, and you will realize that he is far more than an "average bowler".

    Ask Lara & Inzamam, who thwarted all spinners but Kumble, and they will testify for his greatness.

    Perhaps the best analogy for Kumble from the unlikeliest of sources - his spin partner & rival Bajji, after the former completed 400 wickets. He likened Jumbo to a laborer employed in clearing rocks, who, in the absence of any dynamites, would incessantly keep drilling in (never mind the sweat, blood & tears) till the object fell apart.

    We will miss you Anil. As Ganguly once said, "Anil's true worth will be realised only when he hangs up his boots."

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 3, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    ...(Cont)

    However, post his shoulder injury, and some time-out of the team, he has overcome his lacunae in Tests (although his ODI performances suffered). A simple Statsguru search will show that he can bow out with the distinction of having made his mark in every Test playing nation.

    1) 6/53 Johannesburg - 1993 2) 24 wickets in 3 matches - Australia - 2003/04 & 3) 20 wickets in 4 matches - Australia - 2007/08, including four 5-w hauls & 49 wickets in 10 matches

    4) 6/72 - Multan - 2004 5) 7/159 (match figures - Headingley) - 2002 6) 6/78 - Jamaica - 2006

    He averages nearly 4 wickets a match in almost every country. The only team that has managed to sort him out is SriLanka, and we know what kind of a force they are, on home soil.

    Besides, statistically, he compares favorably with most of the spinning greats from the sub-continent. Mushtaq Ahmed - 32.97, Saqlain - 29.83, BS Bedi - 28.71, B.Chandrashekhar - 29.83, Abdul Qadir - 32.80, Prasanna - 30.71

    (cont.)

  • RameshSrivats on November 6, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    Lovely article. Kumble was always underrated because our culture values ease over grit. You can read my tribute to him at http://www.rameshsrivats.net/2008/11/student-toiler-soldier-leader.html

  • rajesharcot on November 4, 2008, 19:05 GMT

    Mr /suresh, as a fellow bangalorean i do fully agree that kumble, dravid, chandra or vishy all are gentle giants during their times. compare this with a gavaskar, shastri, bedi or a ganguly. my cribbing point is that you journos like to highlight only the sparky part of the match to earn brownie points trp etc. after a great man is retired we speak about a kumble or any other bangalorean from a moral high ground. when we learn ??? or is this the law of the jungle?? where the loudest or strongest man is correct or will be heard???.

  • amiraj on November 4, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    Anil Kumble the name that not only Indians will take with honour but all cricket follower from whole world will have to take hats off to him. I still can remember how he bowled out more than half of the west indians team at Eden garden in Day night ODI. But I hope he only out of Indian team not from Indian cricket. My best to him and Saurav as well.

  • Jaisnair on November 4, 2008, 9:42 GMT

    This is the first time I am commenting on a blog. I simply had to do it. Coz one of my favourite cricketers i.e. Anil has called time. Thanks a lot Anil for all the wonderfull memories. 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in the 1999 Delhi Test. Bowling with a broken jaw in the 2002 Test against the W.I. , getting rid of Salim Malik in the tense Indo-Pak World Cup Quarterfinal of 1996 at Bangalore. I can go on but these are the few that come to my mind. You have been a role model for hundreds of budding cricketers in the the way you have carried yourself on the field.I take a bow, Anil. Wish you all the Best in ur post cricketing life....

  • manavatchicago on November 3, 2008, 21:29 GMT

    Cont.......

    For those who enjoy stats, just go through the following stats of cricket, please go throught the stats of Indian Cricket God (Sachin Tendulkar) and tell me which year the God should have said farewell to the game: Grouping Span Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St year 1990 11 239 53 23.90 0 2 2/39 32.00 0 3 0 year 1993 18 319 82* 24.53 0 4 1/6 50.00 0 4 0 year 1997 39 1011 117 30.63 2 6 2/61 72.33 0 14 0 year 2000 34 1328 146 39.05 3 20 4/56 41.75 0 11 0 year 2005 16 412 123 27.46 1 8 5/50 31.50 1 6 0

    I still do remember last days when entire team supported our other great hero Kapil Dev to break Sir Richard Hadlee record. Just a simple question, was he not our hero? How often do we go back and check his last days to validate and question his retirement days. Then why for Anil Kumble. Its a time to salute our hero who is leaving us and going to become part of our history.

  • manavatchicago on November 3, 2008, 21:19 GMT

    I am new to this commenting thing; In fact I have just created my account. It has been really great pleasure and honor to witness a great player like Anil Kumble play for India during my life period. And his retirements fills me both with joy and sorrow; joy to give me a moment to look back and recall all those great moments of his career reflecting his humbleness and dedication towards game and the team, also sorrow at the same time to realize that we will never see him playing again.

    Both this joy and sorrow had been good but after going through various comments here I got discover another feeling within myself and it was that of disappointment and sadness. Its not due to his retirement but the comments people have made by laying and putting stats of his last year cricket. And the main reason I felt I should respond is the fact that I did not want such comments to tarnish the glory of associated with this moment. To Be Cont.......

  • Nampally on November 3, 2008, 20:57 GMT

    Anil Kumble is the greatest leg spinner ever to have played for India. It is sad to see the end of a great career but just like our life all cricketers also come to an inevitable end of their playing careers. Kumble played the game hard with humility, character and in the true spirit of cricket. He led the team with dignity and commanded the respect of one and all. He efven showed Ponting & the Aussies how to play Cricket in True spirit of the game despite terrible umpiring decisions. In the same vein he quit the game at the right time with diginity and without any fanfare.It is impossible to replace any "great character" effectively but other youngsters like Chawla, Mishra and Ojha are capable of filling the role without Kumble's characteristics. Kumble's wicket total and the way he did them will remain peerless. He will remain on top of the podium amongst the outstanding Indian cricketer along with the "Fab 4", Farewell to an Engineer with a Ph.D. in legspin from a Ph.D. Engineer.

  • chinmaypatil on November 3, 2008, 20:24 GMT

    The author has made a very good point about Kumble. More than 600 wickets in tests and more than 300 wickets in ODI's speak for themselves. Let me remind you this is achieved by a man who is still learning leg spin:-). He has been a match winner for India for all these years...A fighter cricketer. Cricket at its very core is a game where bowler's aim is to beat the batsman and knock out the stumps. Kumble has been a master at this art. Most of his dismissals are either bowled or LBW's. Definitely one of the best spinners India has ever produced. Thanks a million for all the entertainment and wishing you all the very best for your life. Hope to see you in some role in Indian Cricket in the future!!!

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 3, 2008, 19:15 GMT

    (..Cont)

    The only person who pips him is Murali, but there is no shame in being a second to him (albeit quite distant, by this yardstick)

    Factor in his longevity, the number of victories engineered by him and more importantly his relentless accuracy, persistence, courage (broken jaw, stitched fingers) & never-say-die spirit, and you will realize that he is far more than an "average bowler".

    Ask Lara & Inzamam, who thwarted all spinners but Kumble, and they will testify for his greatness.

    Perhaps the best analogy for Kumble from the unlikeliest of sources - his spin partner & rival Bajji, after the former completed 400 wickets. He likened Jumbo to a laborer employed in clearing rocks, who, in the absence of any dynamites, would incessantly keep drilling in (never mind the sweat, blood & tears) till the object fell apart.

    We will miss you Anil. As Ganguly once said, "Anil's true worth will be realised only when he hangs up his boots."

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 3, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    ...(Cont)

    However, post his shoulder injury, and some time-out of the team, he has overcome his lacunae in Tests (although his ODI performances suffered). A simple Statsguru search will show that he can bow out with the distinction of having made his mark in every Test playing nation.

    1) 6/53 Johannesburg - 1993 2) 24 wickets in 3 matches - Australia - 2003/04 & 3) 20 wickets in 4 matches - Australia - 2007/08, including four 5-w hauls & 49 wickets in 10 matches

    4) 6/72 - Multan - 2004 5) 7/159 (match figures - Headingley) - 2002 6) 6/78 - Jamaica - 2006

    He averages nearly 4 wickets a match in almost every country. The only team that has managed to sort him out is SriLanka, and we know what kind of a force they are, on home soil.

    Besides, statistically, he compares favorably with most of the spinning greats from the sub-continent. Mushtaq Ahmed - 32.97, Saqlain - 29.83, BS Bedi - 28.71, B.Chandrashekhar - 29.83, Abdul Qadir - 32.80, Prasanna - 30.71

    (cont.)

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 3, 2008, 18:41 GMT

    I have read a few comments condemning Kumble's bowling average. Admittedly, it is on the higher side compared to most other bowling greats particularly on foreign soil. But it must be viewed in perspective.

    For much of his career, the Indian batting did not put up enough runs on the board for him to attack, in overseas conditions till the other members of the Fab 5 rose to the peak of their powers. Additionally, he often lacked support, and as such, had to perform the roles of both strike & stock bowlers. This also led to situations when India lost by huge margins, or innings, thus depriving him of the chance to bowl a substantial number of overs in the second innings. Of course, this does not discount the fact that his bowling lacked a bit of variety in the 90s, and relied more on accuracy or subtle changes.

    (cont..)

  • Rajesh. on November 3, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    I still can't come to terms with Anil Kumble's sudden announcement.... Still can't believe it.... What a pity that India's greatest Match-Winner was in a way forced to take this decision.

    Who all were responsible, whether it was the Cricket Board or the media or the so called experts writing columns everywhere for a penny or two... won't sleep well because the day when it dawns on them what they did to this great guy towards the end of his career will continue to haunt them forever

  • Shantan on November 3, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    My two cents on the underrated giant!

    Anil Kumble to me is India's greatest match winner... a player I'd like to see every aspiring cricketer to emulate. He was aggressive in his actions without shouting his mouth off. Anil, Sachin, Rahul & Laxman showed the world that you can command the respect of the opposition without playing antics. As regards Prasanna's comments that Kumble wouldn't have made the team in the 70's, I'd say if there is a need to select an all time India XI, Kumble & Kapil would be the first two bowlers to be penciled in on the team sheet. Only after that will one of the four from the "quartet" be considered.

    I sincerely wish Anil the very best and thank him for all the joy he gave us. You were the ultimate team man and I hope youngsters emulate this great Indian hero.

  • CricketCrazy19 on November 3, 2008, 16:26 GMT

    India has lost two of its greatest match winners in this series. Fab five is nomore Fab five, its now reduced to "Towering Triplets". Kumble for India was like Warne for Australia, noone can replace him. None of any Indian bowlers is/was as consistent as Kumble. The way he took the last wicket, still showing that hunger, can't be a better way to bid adieu to the cricket world. And the line => "The spirit was willing but the flesh was 38 years old" sums it all. BCCI should honour this man, with the highest possible award, for the deeds he has silently done for Indian cricket. Moreover, I still wonder why people place Kumble in the spinner category, In my opinion, he was a medium pace bowler with a very short runup. A classic Kumble delivery would skid into batsman's legs before he can even think of doing something. And finally, the story of a tall giant and the humble Kumble, comes to an end, I hope he fares well..

  • truth_bearer on November 3, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    It's interesting that the article cites the humility of great athletes from Karnataka. What it didn't mention was that most of these athletes do not identify themselves with their native state unlike athletes from other states in the country. Most of them and their kids barely know conversational Kannada even though they've lived most of their adult life in Karnataka.

  • Hiren09 on November 3, 2008, 14:54 GMT

    Salute to Mr. Anil Kumble. I was in a deep shock for sometimes when I heard this news from the commentator. I couldn't stop my tears while seeing him bowling for very last time. I just realise yesterday only that He was the real Champ in himself. I never cried for someone like this. It was truly a devine moment for an indian to watch a greate fighter to bowl. I think I will not have any courage to see Sachin leaving the field for the last time. I'm proud to be an Indian where Heros like Kapil,Kumble & Sachin born.Jai Hind.

  • VincentSunder on November 3, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    We cannot belittle a man who has 600 test wickets, and has played the game for 18 years. Respect is due, and well earned too.

    But it just is that Kumble had been ineffective for a full year. Had he retired a year or two ago, he would have really gone out with a lot more respect. Epitaphs for the dead are always good, and farewells for 'stars' are similar - which is what we are seeing in the print and the visual media today.

    What did Kumble do this year? 462.5 overs; 60 maidens; 1430 runs for 28 wickets at an average of 51.07 runs per wicket, and a strike rate of a wicket for every 99.15 deliveries - roughly a wicket every 16 overs conceding 51 runs for it. Hardly inspiring stuff.

    Batsmen can be in good form but make one mistake and get back into the pavilion. Bowlers however get a longer rope. Even if they bowl below par, there are opportunities to pick a few wickets -either the odd good deliver or the batsman making an error. Kumble averaged just 1.6 wickets per innnings.

  • Siddharth_Pandit on November 3, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    As I woke up this morning from my sleep which, of course came very late yesterday, there was a feeling of loneliness, emptiness and a feeling which constantly pinged me that something went wrong yesterday. As I scratched my head, I got to know the reason which created the void. Anil Radhakrishna Kumble will not bowl again in a test match wearing his worn out cap, which so rightly depicted the dedication and hard work he had put in for Indian Cricket. Bedi, Prasanna or Vishwanath, nobody could be compared to kumble just because of the amount of effort and magnitude of his achievements. India has always been a country where batsmen are applauded more than bowlers even on achievements which will count more for outside world cricket. A 5-for has never been Indian curry of success when compared to a century. Many would regard and compare kumble with other veteran spinners but kumble leave them all well behind when one takes a look at the matches won for India.

  • paritosh_sabria on November 3, 2008, 12:13 GMT

    I always wondered why Anil Kumble was termed as leg spinner when his googly the other one use to spin more than his usual leg spin or I should say the leg spin hardly turned let me tell you thats the beauty of this champion bowler I still remember the frist wicket he took of Alan Lamb and all the ten wickets of Pakistan .He is rightly called as Jumbo as his deliveries use to kick off the turf and its pretty unusal for a spinner. A man who inspires me a lot to fight till the end .He is no more just Anil Kumble He is now Sir Anil Kumble!!!!!!!!(atleast for me )

  • SebV on November 3, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    In response to mclean's comments - kumble got more l.b.w.s because he bowled straight, fast and accurate. Everybody knows that he's not a big spinner. Most batsmen who fell that way, were more surprised than unlucky - remember how he got steve waugh? That's a classic Kumble l.b.w.

  • Krishna2007 on November 3, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    Two Kumble moments that I will never forget. The 6 for 12 against WI in the Hero Cup that left them without a prayer of a chance in the final. And the victory against the Aussies in Bangalore where Srinath and he inched their way to victory when the mighty had fallen. The sight of Kumble's mother, an epitome of grace and motherliness, whose emotions mirrored ours and the sheer happiness on her face when they hit the winning runs were all thoroughly unforgettable.

    One cannot also forget the look that Kumble used to give to a hapless fielder who flubbed a chance or committed a fielding lapse off his bowling. He carried his intensity with him on every moment he spent on the cricketing field and gave up when he cpould not carry it on any longer.

  • Supratik on November 3, 2008, 11:18 GMT

    Another fine article Suresh, however can't agree completely. Beauty is essential in any sport and there I can't fault Mailey or Cardus and there is beauty in orthodoxy too. Take Gavaskar e.g. Kumble wasn't orthodox not in his run up or the action. However, he was gripping drama specially on a wearing wicket. Putting emotions aside, one can look at Kumble's career in 2 parts, pre-surgery in the 90s and post it and here we can see why didn't get the oohs & the aahs as some of the others got. In the 90s he was a great 'bad wicket' bowler perhaps the greatest. but on true pitches and also abroad he was ordinary. But come the 21st century all of that changed & he emerged a collosus come rain or shine. Another reason why he was under-rated, was the parallel career of the one and only Warne, the magical, the theatrical, the Houdini. Beauty counts. For us Indians though Kumble will be "Mr. Cricket", the relentless, the tunnel visioned, the never-give-up man. A 'Jumbo' thank you, Kumble!!

  • v-factor on November 3, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    This post is a tribute to one of the greatest soldiers to have ever graced Indian Cricket. Ever since I started following cricket as a small kid sixteen years back, the man on the TV screen remained unchanged-flipping the ball in his hands and then running in intensely to bamboozle the batsmen. My heart refuses to take in the fact that Kumble will no more enthrall the viewers and the batsmen alike with his bowling. This man was an inspiration on the field and off it. The work ethics he brought and the dedication with which he pursued his goals tirelessly are exemplary if not insurmountable. The unsung hero braved not only injuries but also unfair criticisms and bricklbats silently to propel Indian Cricket towards glory. Hope his retirement helps put things into perspective and he is accorded his due respect. Anil Kumble-take a bow. Your ardent admirer, Vivek .

  • Farce-Follower on November 3, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    What a champion. What a human. Truly, Bangaloreans are blessed that from amongst them rose a giant who strode the cricket field with dinity, ability and purpose. He will forever be one of the Greatest Icons of world cricket.

  • nishel on November 3, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    Easily one of the greatest ambassadors of the modern game Indian and World cricket has ever seen.people may talk abt greats like kapil dev and sachin tendulkar but in my eyes 'jumbo' is right up there..Good luck to him for the future and thank you for showing Indian cricket where grit and determination can take you

  • ronit_ghaiee on November 3, 2008, 9:07 GMT

    Anil Kumble will always be remembered by his courageous, honourable and dignified approach to cricket. As a young boy who grew up watching him tear through batting lineups, I can say that he is unique because of his attitude to the game. Anil will forever be in the hearts and minds of those who watched him at his best and Indian Cricket will always be indebted to him for the service he has provided. Best performances for me were 10/74 against Pakistan, Century against England and recently, the 5 wickets he took on the first day against Australia at Melbourne. His contribution to spin's golden era will not be forgotten. Thanks for everything Anil. God bless.

  • nafees1962 on November 3, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    The Champ that he has been, Kumble was great with the bat too. When he came in, meant the top order was almost gone. His 2,506 runs (@17.77) also played no minor role in the Indian victories.

    Kumble bowled 40,850 deliveries, topped only by Muralitharan. That's about 52 overs per Test at an economy rate of 2.70 only. 8 times he has taken 10 or more wickets in a Test. Add to that his tally of 337 wickets in 271 ODIs!

    It's ironic he didn't get as much credit and respect that he deserved, from his critics. But a true cricket lover will always remember him as one of the greatest of the Game!

  • sunny_spanish on November 3, 2008, 8:38 GMT

    Although i had an idea that Anil would announce his retirement soon but still i got very emotional when i got to know it happend. I want to salute the spirit in which he played the game.No one can ever question his commitment. I want to remember the times when he was the only wicket taking hope of our team.I saw him bowl India to victories on so many occations Post 1990,India produced so many world class cricketers but for me there were just two champions Anil and Sachin. He is a real champion.All the best Anil. You rock:)

  • asimnehal on November 3, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    Well, There is no-doubt that his figures speaks for him on and off the cricketing field. I still remember when he pierce thru to the Indian cricket team and was truely encouraged by the then seniors. He flourished really under Azharuddin's captaincy , who gave him free hands and full support and trusted on his ability to handle the pressure. This is how Anil developed and became true champion and a match winner for India. The faith and trust of the captain not only helped him to work hard but at times he applied himself when captain was at loss.

    I rate him at par with great cricketers of the World and he truely belong to the elite family of Bradman, Kapil, Imran, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Murlidharan, Steve Waugh, Glem McGrath, Wasim Akram, Viv Richards, Rahul Dravid, Gavaskar etc....

  • tgevans on November 3, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    We are at the end of the golden age of cricket. With Inzi, Lara, Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist, Jayasurya, Pollock, Ganguly (soon-to-be), and Kumble gone, and Tendulkar, Dravid, Hayden, Laxman, and Murali nearing the end of their careers, it may be a while before we see such a glorious confluence of cricketing talent.

  • Suite101 on November 3, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Anil Kumble's retirement brings to an end the quietly spectacular career of a man who, as Suresh Menon aptly says, had "great skill and a large heart". He is a player whose talent, achievements and conduct on the field the world of cricket can salute with respect. Dr Sanjiva Wijesinha Suite101.com

  • saumitra.marathe on November 3, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    Hi Suresh, Finally I've come across a writer who has mentioned the most important point about Kumble: effetiveness without glamour, and has acknowledged former as more important. I was going thru Manjrekar's article about Kumble, mentioning he was not a "gifted" one and continuously highlighting the point. With all due respect to Sanjay's cricketing prowess, I believe the grestest gift is to win matches and not to turn a ball making it unplayable or to hit a perfect square cut for four in an over when the team needs run a ball.

    The biggest nemesis to Indian cricket has been to worship some of them as demi-gods and forgetting about the team's performance and results.

  • RPGurung on November 3, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Thank you Kumble... you are the greatest

  • Nivalink on November 3, 2008, 7:29 GMT

    Kumble is greatest match winner for India no doubt about it. Being a little laidback and less flashy off the field, he does not get as much attention but the fact really is that if every India cricketer / sportsperson wears his never say die attitude than India can go far and be there consistently. I have seen him struggle to remove "padams" or gone for hundreds against a rampaging Jayasurya .. but each time come back stronger. His bowling is not something one can set a model on as its a mix of lot of things. But his secret of his success lie in the subtlities rather than the spectacle. Hats off to Anil Kumble !!!!

  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on November 3, 2008, 6:41 GMT

    When people talk about Kumble's or Sachin's greatness they miss one very important thing. Its not about the number of runs Sachin has scored or number of wickets kumble has taken, its not even about the longevity or 2 decades of career, its not even about the matches they have won for India. Statistics would never do justice to their legacy because they would never tell that there was a time when these 2 gentlemen held their head high and tried to win every match even when half of their teammates (match fixers) had already decided to loose those matches. I am talking about 90's when both these cricketers were at the peak of their prowess but still lost so many matches because cricketers like Azhar, Jadeja & Mongia were fixing matches. These 2 cricketers are the greatest cricketers for they kept their integrity intact in the most desperate times. The nation loves you and is proud of you.

  • Amolpp on November 3, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    For all the 'Fab four' hype: a mere 25 runs value for each wicket that Anilbhai took, reveals that he would beat the 'leading run-scorer' by at least 25%. Numbers apart, Anil is undoubtedly India's greatest matchwinner. Anil knew that captaincy was a short-term job for him. Howvever Dhoni will tell you what a fighting unit he now inherits. The fab four 4 & others have indeed provided us great joy, however lets not forget to give Anilbhai his due, which is really long overdue.

  • joe_antony on November 3, 2008, 5:58 GMT

    its great to see the vivacious farewell for the legend.. It was a right move at the right time, if he delayed his retirement further he might not have got such a great attention. I don't think even the world beater Kapil Dev or Run machine Sunny had such a great farewell, Congrats Anil. I loved watching you and Srinath winning a match for india with bats. There is a lot for young cricketers to learn from Anil, especially showing agression in the game and complete respect for the opponents at the same time, its a great art and people like gambhir, ishanth and zheer has to learn it from him.

  • Cric_123 on November 3, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Honest, hardworking, committed...... All of this is fine and I respect him for that.

    But UNDERRATED...For heaven's sake. Don't forget that he averages nearly 30 for every wicket in Test Cricket. No where near great!! Yes, he is the 3rd highest wicket taker in Tests, but look at the number of matches he has played. What has he achieved in Tests outside India, apart from decent performances in a few matches in the latter part of his career?

    I would say, a great bowler in Indian conditions and below Test Standard anywhere else in the world...Average Player Overall. Look at the link below if u differ:

    http://stats.cricinfo.com/statsguru/engine/player/30176.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;template=results;type=allround

  • Srinivasan.PS on November 3, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    Anil is an extraordinary cricketer with shrewd cricketing brain. Also his attitute as a gentleman cricker with heavy demand while in field, made one of the rarest player India has ever seen. Kumble has proved all critics wrong by getting wickets within & outside India and also captained like Champion during a very short time. His 10-74 will be record for ever, I guess for generations. All the best JUMBO!!

  • Adhil.mothie on November 3, 2008, 5:39 GMT

    I think Anil has been a real inspiration for indian cricket & for world cricket,he has done everything he could,to help india suceed.its really sad,not to see him in new zealand next year but you have to rest a tired body at some stage.well done! A true champion for me

  • SOLI on November 3, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    Finally, "Jumbo" called it a day! That final Hippo-like leap will never be seen on the cricket field from now on. Of course, parting is always painful & given the human instincts no one likes to give up. But Anil being such a sporting guy and always believed in his capabilities and limitations too and where to stop, took a very graceful decision in a manner sort of a 'rejoinder' to Vengsarkar who doesn't know how to honor a sportsman who toiled & slogged on the field in the contemporary cricket. I think 'colonel' is still reeling in his good, old days where 3/4 part of the Team India consisted of Bomabyites without leaving any chance for the outsider. In the era when Anil took up the cricket field for India, it had been consistently dynamic and performance was the only yardstick to retaining the place in the team. "Jumbo" was a fighter too, to the core. Now, don't be placid Anil! Do somethingg for the 'rookies' to teach them a lesson or two to keep the 'leggie' legacy unabated. SULTAN

  • ksuryank on November 3, 2008, 5:14 GMT

    I do not understand why Prasanna said that abt Kumble...all these yesteryear (so called greats, made greats by media or self made - except kapil) have never won matches for the country as these guys won (kumble, saurav, tendlya, dravid, laxman). i think, if winning is taken as a guage, even hemang badani is better that these spinning quartets or sunnies, gundappas or whoever it was, kris, manjrekars or anybody...for that matter. Kumble is the ultimate match winner for India i still remember the lesson i learnt from his bowling. i was pursuing my company secretaryship course and failed to achieve the aggregate required to be qualified from the exam and was sitting before our tv, pondering over the failure...at that time, the hero cup was going and saw one over of kumble after another in a odi, he was bowling on the same spot, relentlessly, ball after ball and after some 10 balls, got the wicket of the batsman, lbw then i understood, what i should be doing rather than pondering over...

  • DONSILVA on November 3, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    There is an on going disease in the Asia Sub continent that the people at least the media pundits forget the contribution made by the greatest crickets, within couples of day's time. They create an embarrassing situation to them leave their team which is highly oppressive to the western world as they want their heroes to play till the last minutes. And provide a well planed farewell for their heroes. People like Aravinda, Arjuna, Imram, Waqqr, Wassim, Kapil, Sauro all got the same emotional send off from the media despite they were willing to contribute more and retire peacefully as everlasting heroes. Anil became the latest victim though he is not accepting the fact that decision based on media criticism however at least it has been contributed to a certain extent. Our (Asian) Heroes should get the right pattern of retire which Border, Waugh, Hadley, Warn, Macgrath enjoyed, based entirely on their evaluation

  • Vishalj.me on November 3, 2008, 4:53 GMT

    "He sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw." - No comments.

    No doubt Kumble has been a great performer for India over the years. But I dont agree that he is underrated.

    His average is around 30 runs/wicket. Whereas other greats have it in early 20s. Strike rate too is higher than Warne, Glenn, Murali, Wasim etc.

    Kumble has 10 MOM awards in total. Only one outside India, for the 100 he scored in England.

    Lastly, without umpire AV Jaiprakash's help Kumble would have struggled to take more that 6 wickets in that 10 wickets/innings haul at Kotla.

  • cricket4shafiq on November 3, 2008, 4:49 GMT

    One thing very simple is his dignity, fighting spirit, grace, his sense of understanding with pakistan as neighbour. Offcourse i never have accepted the fact that only 'Kumble' was responsible for taking 10 wickets against pakistan, without the help of Umpires. But definately he was the only threat when we were batting against India, and he is simply the greatest match winner for India, and the symbol of sportsmanship & man (alongside Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman---no disgrace to DADA)to take indian cricket to next level (initiated by Kapil, Azhar)and showing the picure of Indian Gentleman. Thankyou Kumble & other FAB4, Please do not stop visiting Pakistan. We want to see people like you here.(Muhammad Shafiq from Islamabad, pakistan).

  • spreddy1 on November 3, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    Last evening, I got so emotional and I could not control them...tears were flowing my eyes like like water coming out from a running tap..it was a very difficult for me to control those emotions....An outstanding caeer and memorable career has come to an end. I feel like it is beginning of the end of an era....When tendulkar retires, this era will come to an end...and i cannot imagine indian cricket without these players..

  • colorodan on November 3, 2008, 4:08 GMT

    Anil K will be missed. While I went to Bangalore Institute of Technology, Kumble played for the neighboring RV College of Engineering. Of course he played very few games for the college team since he started playing for the country during those days. He was among the more humbled than most of his showmen team mates..

  • Sateesh on November 3, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    There are couple of ways to be successful in any sport, one is by having a great talent than others, Kumble is one of those guys who never thinks about what others say and never ever gives up and gives full commitment to waht ever he does.This made him most successful Indian bowler ever.

  • mondotv on November 3, 2008, 3:28 GMT

    Kumble is one of the greats and a true gentlemen of the game. He'll be missed by all cricket lovers. I have to take issue with the article though. Kumble was never underrated. I don't think any cricket afficionado thought less of Kumble because he didn't possess a sharply spun leg spinner. After all Shane Warne never really had a great wrong un. Ask Shane if he would've liked one? Ask Kumble if he'd have liked to possess both his stock top spinner and a sharply turning leg spinner (he already had an excellent wrong un)? I bet they'd both say yes, but not at the expense of accuracy. Neither of them liked letting the batsman off the hook.

    The truth is Kumble's height and very high, fast arm action imparted a lot of overspin and additional bounce at the batsman's end. This got him a lot of wickets but restricted sideways spin. In his prime Kumble was highly effective even on slower tracks where other spinners struggled. And you wouldn't swap that accuracy for anything, it was deadly!

  • ManojSathe on November 3, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    I still remember the day when I came of out my examination hall in 1999 and first question we frds. were eager to know that , did Kumble completed 10 wicket againsta Pakistan or not?...a gentelman and a matchwinner, a true CHAMPION ....

  • vswami on November 3, 2008, 2:30 GMT

    Nothing typifies our underrating of Kumble than the tag "Fab Four" rather than the correct tag "Fab Five" to describe these great bunch of cricketers. I really admire the upbringing of Karnataka boys and wish the rest of India could learn from it. Dravid, Srinath, Kumble, Viswanath, Chandrasekhar and a whole lot of others .. genuises, yet they displayed tremendous intellect, modesty and dignity on the field. Not for them the crassness and ego driven self centredness that has infiltrated our public culture. We may produce another Dravid, Laxman or Ganguly .. but I am not sure we will produce another Kumble. I had tears in my eyes as I watched the last moments of the test match.

  • mojorisin on November 3, 2008, 2:28 GMT

    The way he carried himself on his last day of test cricket speaks for itself. Anyone who's seen him play or seen him speak would know there is a certain quality....something more to him than just his resume ( we all know there aren't too many as good as that), and more often than not, this is the difference between exceptional players on the field, and the true greats of the game.... -Anoop Jayakumar

  • Savii on November 3, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    Congrats to Kumble for his contribution to Indian cricket. He's been a great player, great role model and finally a great captain. I can never forget the sight of him bowling with his bandaged jaw, or even in this last test with his injured hand, he's been a huge inspiration to everyone. He's definitely been underrated all these years but he should receive the respect he's deserved throughout his career at least now. Congrats Jumbo! We're proud of you!

  • ian1wason on November 3, 2008, 1:21 GMT

    I am from the West Indies, and Kumble will remain my favourite cricketer outside West Indies. Always a gentleman and i say the greatest spinner ever to play. I've Lara tear Muralitteran apart, i'v seen him tear Warne apart, but i never see Lara get his way with Kumble.... the World will miss Kumble! All the best Anil Kumble.........

  • Gujubhai on November 3, 2008, 0:49 GMT

    Are you the Greatest Indian Spin Bowler? 10 Wickets in an innings!! Enough said.

  • ndogcricfan on November 3, 2008, 0:40 GMT

    I, like a lot of Indians during this series, took my fair share of bashing at Kumble. However, I felt nothing but respect when he returned with a bad hand and tied down the scoring. I'm overjoyed that Kumble's last match was one where he didn't go wicketless and showed his mettle. It's been a long time in which Kumble has won India many matches, and if it weren't for that 38 yr old physique, he still would be doing so. I'm happy Kumble didn't make his going away unpleasant with remarks like Ganguly's about "humiliation" and "disrespect." His ending note pleasing and dignified, the core of the Kumble we all know.

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on November 2, 2008, 23:00 GMT

    I grew up watchin you play.I've bunked classes just to see you play.Everyone is talking just about your test cricket carrer.But I will never forget your 6 wicket haul against WI in hero cup and they way you murdered batsmen with monotonous accuracy.You were in my flight from Bangalore to mumbai,but couldnt get a snap with you since i had no camera with me.All the best anil,You had given me million resons to smile.. -sreekanth nair,london.

  • girikula on November 2, 2008, 22:23 GMT

    I literally cried today watching Kumble bowl his last over and bow out. I was privileged to see him as a true cricketer during my time. There are no words to describe him as a best cricketer and human being. Most of pundits say the same. Tony Greig was said something - "just ask anyone about Kumble and he will tell all good about him". This sums up Kumble. I felt very sad when our media unnessarily put pressure on him. And I was proud that, like I'm sure all those who understand cricket do, that he handled his retirement with a dignity that typifies him and very few others (include fellow Karnataka mates like Dravid, Srinath etc). Kumble, like some one said, will always represent the best of India, of cricket, and of sportsmanship. Kumble's achievements are beyond question, but the manner of those achievements will live forever in the minds of those who really know the greatest spinner of India. Its really very tough to see Kumble go off. I can't imagine a test match without Kumble.

  • ivanan on November 2, 2008, 21:25 GMT

    And there comes the end of a glorious era!I saw it coming,if it were not for the 3rdtest being played at Kotla-Anil's favourite, his last hoorah would have been at his home town in Bangalore.I have known Anil since 1982,we studied in NHS,B'lore. He was a year junior to me and when I first played him in the nets, he used to bowl medium pacers with slightly long runup.Everybody thought Vinay Badami the WK-batsman to make a mark in international circuit.Little did I realise that Anil would go on to make everlasting impact,not only in cricket, but also sports in general.A extremely hard working cricketer, his intelligence, cricketing acumen and the selfless committment for greater cause of team than himself will be etched in memories of his ardent fans.When asked how he got wickets regularly without much turn of the ball-his memorable quote-The difference between the middle of the bat and the edge is one inch.Thanks for all memories,Will miss you Anil.Extremely proud of you- my role model!

  • sachin_sachin on November 2, 2008, 21:21 GMT

    Anil Kumble is without doubt the greatest Indian bowler to grace the field. Indian cricket is poorer for this loss. He was no less fierce competitor than any of other bowling greats of his time and right up there with Shane Warne and Muarli.

    He hopefully has inspired a generation of Indian crickets and left the fans with truckloads of memories. He played the game the way it is meant to be - with Dignity, Grace and Respect.

    Please let us all do him a favour and not compare him with anyone else. It will be thoughtless post-mortem. Lets all revel in the memories and wish Kumble the best in whatever he does. Hope he can still play some part in Indian cricket.

    Long live Kumble.

  • VamsX1 on November 2, 2008, 21:13 GMT

    Thanks Jumbo for all the memories..It will be tough to fill in the spot you left..You may be third among the list for number of Test Wickets, But i reckon you keep the record for ever for scoring a Test Century and have more than 600 Test wickets...I wish you all the best for your future and hope to see you involved in Indian cricket in one way or the other..

    "Flight JUMBO retires after 18 Years of service"

    -Vamshi Virginia,USA

  • whoster on November 2, 2008, 20:58 GMT

    Congratulations to Anil Kumble for a wonderful career serving his country. He is a truly great sportsman; and to be referred to as great isn't just about statistics - it's also about setting an example off the field of play. Anil is humble, generous, dignified and very modest about his achievements. He has been a fantastic ambassador and role model, and in an age where sportsmanship is being tested more and more by the financial rewards increasing greatly, here's one player who can hold his head up and say he's given it everything, and played the game hard but fair.

    Thanks for the wonderful memories, Anil. You have earned respect and affection all over the world!

  • spreddy1 on November 2, 2008, 20:57 GMT

    A fantastic and great carrer has come to end in the Delhi test. He is one of my two favourite legends in test cricket (the other one is Sachin tendulkar)...He has been a great inspiration in my life and i would like to salute him finally for the one last time...the three things i would never forget in my life are 1. His 10-wicket haul in an innings 2. His determination and never-say die attitude when he bowled with a broken jaw in west indies 3. His final test wicket that he took with a broken fingers. HATSOFF TO KUMBLE...

  • vsrajan on November 2, 2008, 19:51 GMT

    Anil 'Jumbo' Kumble is the greatest champion of Cricket in India - one of the all-time legends in world cricket. I am a great fan of Sunny Gavaskar, after his retirement, I was following Kapil and became his fan because of his attitude towards the game. They are truly great cricketers India has ever produced - they gave nothing less than 100%. I dont remember becoming 'emotionally charged up' when both of them retired. I felt the void for a day or two. However, when I saw Anil today taking his final lap in Kotla, I did shed tears............. I dont know why?...... Probably I was more attached to him because of his gentle nature, his fighting spirits and his 'never-give-up' attitude. Anil, you are simply GREAT and a true SPORTSMAN. And more than that a TRUE GENTLEMAN CRICKETER and a living example to prove that CRICKET IS A GENTLEMAN'S GAME. You have proved that a Cricketer can be lethal and aggressive through your attitude and 'assassin smiles' all through your career. HATS OFF!

  • Pratik007 on November 2, 2008, 19:49 GMT

    Kumble is one of the greatest cricketers india has and will produce! A thorough gentleman who only had one agenda- to get India a victory! Anil you will be missed but never forgotten, Thank You for the great victories you have given india and for inspiring young men like me to never give up what ever the situation. Thanks alot and best wishes for the future. I m sure Anil Kumble still has alot to offer indian cricket in the future.

  • LisaDun on November 2, 2008, 19:46 GMT

    There is typo, Menon. "Kumble leads with a ball every 65.5 deliveries,.." That should be a wicket every 65.5 deliveries.

    Comparison of winning percentages of the teams that played one or more the spin quarter, and teams had Kumble is not fair. Indian batting was extremely fragile during the days of Prasanna & Co., and they had to defend very poor totals.

    I admire Mr Kumble for his endurance and consistently positive results for almost two decades.

  • Rajesh. on November 2, 2008, 19:42 GMT

    I still cannot comprehen watching India take the field without Anil Kumble........

    Anil, in a way you have let me down.... Because I wanted you to play forever.........

  • mclean on November 2, 2008, 19:28 GMT

    he was a fabulous player he took many wickets by l.b.w .he was lucky at those time now after this series if u appeal for l.b.w the review system is there .now think if there was areview system at the time of kumbles period he wouldnt have a such agreat number of wickets

  • anant_baderdinni on November 2, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    Kumble has given Indian cricket more than what his majestry stats would show. He gave that undying grit, that determination, that perseverance which defines the essence of sport's undenial character specially when all bets are off. He has shown, in a nutshell, what giving 100 percent means! Gavaskar gave Indian cricket a brekthrough for greatness, Kapil gave a feeling of championship, Sachin gave hope and example of mastery, Kumble gave the meaning of perseverance; an everlasting one; he will always be known as a cricketer who gave his 100 percent. I hope the Indian cricket gives credit to Kumble's legacy by incorporating "grit and persevarance" as one of it's values.

  • Aswin_ganesh on November 2, 2008, 18:37 GMT

    An end of an era! Thanks for the memories Kumble! We all love you no matter what people say! You might have not been the traditional orthodox spinner, who flights the ball and bamboozles the batsman, but a lion-hearted spinner who relied on patience, perseverance and skill to take wickets. You have won many a match for India. You have provided us some rare victories like Adelaid 2004 and in West indies. You will be remembered as a bowler who gave whatever he had. Don't worry about your critics now, eventhough you went empty handed from Kotla, you have gained the respect of the nation for showing what you truly stand for: 100% Commitment. Thanks for the memories. Bye bye greatman!

  • DoosraOffie on November 2, 2008, 18:08 GMT

    Congratulations to the greatest leg spinner i had ever seen till date. I grew up seeing his artistry.....I understand his style of bowling as i used to bowl offspin in the same style. He is a great sportsperson and a tribute to the gentleman spirit of cricket in this professional world....You gave us countless moments to enjoy in the cricket field. All the very best for all your future endeavours..........

  • BHARATLIFE on November 2, 2008, 17:13 GMT

    Kumble a great ammbassador to cricket!A fighter to the core.He gives it the 100% all the time,always relentlessly comming hard at the batsmen.And he has been through many rough phases,but eventually he would come on top.Unlike the "fab four" who are like house hold names,Kumble is not the sort of who really invades a conversation,that really shows the impassiveness and the low profile he maintains on the pitch.His effort for India is unfeigned,country first.It is so funny ,probably he will remain the 3rd highest wicket taker in test cricket forever and still see the amount of hype he creates is minimal.Another star has died, these are sad times for Indian cricket.

  • girija.devi on November 2, 2008, 17:02 GMT

    It really felt bad when i heard kumble will be retiring. I even had tears when Indian players carried him around the park. I thought he will retire at the end of this series but not in Delhi itself. Its a great honour to see have seen such a kind of a player. He might have retired from the game but not from our hearts. Thank you for everything you gave us

  • kr_graj on November 2, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    It is disheartening to read that "Erapalli Prasanna once suggested uncharitably that Kumble would not have found a place in the Indian teams of his time". Mr.Prasanna should please go back in time and recollect that if one Mr.KVM (Vasu, in short), an off-spinner with a craft superior to that of Prasanna's, had not opted out of national selection in the fifties, he himelf would have been unheard of in India. Is Prasanna plain jealous? Anyway, Kumble '619', Kumble '10-for', Kumble-'jaws'(!) and Kumble 'Circle'(Bangalore) stand proof that Kumble is Kumble, a gentle jumbo-giant with achievements to match. And would Prasanna's off-spring please treat Kumble as a role-model, please?

  • SeenuSubbu on November 2, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    Kumble boy, you might not remember this but I had watched you walk in around RVCE as a fledgling in Karnataka cricket, while I was about to graduate. I had known your brother well, so I was very proud when you made your debut in the national cricket. You have given us some amazing performances, most match winning ones of all, and not many understood your concept of spin bowling, they all wanted to see the ball turn 60 -90 degrees to qualify it as spin. As a proponent of seam bowling and believer in the half/one inch move that could be the decider between the ball being whacked or getting the batsman plumb, I am in a better position to appreciate your magic. I wish things could go on forever, but all good things must come to an end. Good luck with rest of your endeavours, and enjoy your retirement!

  • rabidfan on November 2, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    Thanks for all the memories, Anil. You have been a valuable servant of Indian cricket for the last two decades and the greatest match winner India has produced. Your achievements are all the more significant given that you were not as naturally gifted as some of your colleagues but you made it possible by sheer grit and determination. Best wishes to you and your family. I would hope that you'll be a part of the Indian cricket fraternity even after retirement perhaps as a commentator.

  • dogbert on November 2, 2008, 16:45 GMT

    I'm a little disappointed that Mr.Menon did not mention Javagal Srinath in the list of sportsmen from Karnataka. Along with Srinath & Dravid, Kumble has been a great source of inspiration for budding cricketers from Karnataka over the last 15 years. Well Played, Jumbo!!!

  • thesoccergod on November 2, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    So yes, Kumble, my heartiest congratulations to your mightiness. The "smiling assassin" you certainly were! Dhanyavaadagalu for everything!

  • thesoccergod on November 2, 2008, 16:33 GMT

    Kumble was a great cricketer. Determined enough to play through seemingly endless criticism, and talented enough to perform splendidly through it all. Furthermore, his was a talent that flourished as it exerted itself. From the near medium-paced deliveries of his 90s career to the splendid flighted googly post 2000-that was moulded on the most classical of spinning traditions-he was always evolving, always improving. Indeed, it may be argued perhaps, that it was his batting that got the short end of the stick; playing second fiddle to this relentless quest. For, right from his (test) 87 in Banglaore in the late 90s, he looked the part of a bowling all-rounder who just never *quite* made it (NOT through lack of talent, IMO). To his credit though, he *persevered* (might as well flog the word when I can) and his 100 at The Oval and his exultation that followed was a moment that brought a smile to my face. Just like his 10-wickets in Kotla and so many other 'Kumble moments'...

  • masterblaster666 on November 2, 2008, 16:30 GMT

    How can you say his bowling was not beautiful? To anybody at least somewhat interested in spin, Kumble's bowling was beautiful and the way he worked batsmen into their trap with ever-so-subtle variations used to be a treat. What the layman doesn't realise is it is harder to attain such incredible precision and control - and that over long spells - than to turn the ball a mile. :) Mr.Menon is an erudite writer and I know what he meant when he said there is no great beauty in Kumble's bowling, but the point still stands. I am glad he walked off into the sunset at the first murmurs and whispers and at the arrival of the first decent replacement India could produce for him in 18 years. :) Mishra can never be a like-for-like replacement but he is promising and Jumbo did not stand in the way of promising talent. What a great man!

  • fnm500 on November 2, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Anil Kumble, we salute you! You are a true hero, a legend. Thank You for all the joy you have given us Indians over the last 18 years. Personally for me, I have pretty much grown up with you being a permanent member of the Indian team. Before every test, I would list down my ideal team for the match and you would always be there in it. I cannot imagine what it would even feel like without you in the team. You gave us hope when India was down and out. Every time you came on to bowl, I knew something would happen. Without you, inspite of the Fab Four, we would not have won half as many Test matches. Your lion heartedness, your humility, your never say die spirit, done with so much grace, will be of inspiration to all of us. You are greatness personified and I had to fight back tears today when I saw you go. All the best for your life ahead Anil. Thank You for everything.

  • gmsbhat on November 2, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    An all time great has just retired. Kumble has given us many winning moments, with his 'smiling assassin' bowling. Kumble the bowler practised an understated style, the essence of his bowling lying in the effective, scientific angles and the 'just required' pace he gave the ball - precision-bound like a jet engine, deceptively simple but like a whirlpool to navigate. Kumble the captain impressed us all with his precise comments, never-say-die spirit. Kumble the man epitomised the triumph of heart over hurdle, will over woe. Kumble has exited the scene which he graced with his all - he gave his 100% - all the time. But his legacy will live on. I wish him all the best as he looks at pavilions beyond. G.M.Srinivasa Bhat, Bangalore

  • Lakshs on November 2, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    Salutations Kumble. You are easily among the very best who have played the game! We hope you will return for a long next innings with cricket coaching, media, adminsitration etc.

  • anreddy9 on November 2, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    Well, an era has come to an end.....Indian cricket will no more what it used to be. A valiant soldier who fought injuries, nagging criticism (mostly unfair), form and fitness (shoulder surgery) and came out with flying colors every time. Audios to the greatest match winner of Indian Cricket!! You will be remain in the Indian Cricket fans hearts for ever!!

  • mashipchandler on November 2, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    Sad to see one of the finest cricketers that India has ever produced leave the international scene. One will definitely remember the 10 wickets in an innings and the 1st Indian ever to achieve the 600 wicket mark, but what I will remember Kumble for the most is his commitment to "Team India" And also for bringing the word "gentleman" back into the game of cricket which of late has been plagued by sledging and match fixing scandals.

  • s.sri on November 2, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    I totally agree suresh, Kumble always represented the true karnataka spirit. He was a thorough gentleman on and off the field, yet by far the most fierce competitor. Over last 2 decades he went about his job so calmly and modestly, that critics found him to be a soft target. Time and again he proved everyone wrong.I think the his last test wicket reflects his nature, he ran almost 15-20 yards behind to complete the catch and that too with one hand. I hope the the youngsters look at Kumble as a role model and carry the same Dignity as he did over last 18 years.

  • nanduz on November 2, 2008, 14:42 GMT

    Well said Suresh.... We will miss that pillar of strength..the never-say-die attitude... the committment personified giant.. the gentle-to the core-man of cricket...! I think this is the right time chosen by him to leave the arena with 100% grace...! Anil... Jumboji... We will miss you...! Wish you all the best,...!

  • Percy_Fender on November 2, 2008, 14:38 GMT

    Anil Kumble was not so highly held by the media, western in particular because he did not have the flamboyance of Shane Warne. He was not the 'one who bowled the greatest ball of the century' in bowling Mike Gatting with a prodigous leg break. That honour was Warne's and it was written of so effusively because he had made a monkey of the supposedly best player of spin who was expected to destroy Warne much in the manner that Tendulkar and Shastri in 92.The awe in the western media for Shane Warne, his greatness notwithstanding was more because he was not from the sub-continent. That is because spin bowling itself was written of rather condescendingly in the 80's when the West Indian pace juggernaut was busy riding roughshod all over.Having watched Anil Kumble from the U-19 match between India and Pakistan in the late 80's, till today, I can only compare his greatness with that of Courtney Walsh's who did not need to be abuseive like Mitchell Johnson to be part of cricketing lore.

  • Idol on November 2, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    Thanks for putting things into perspective, Suresh. At this juncture, post the retirement of India's greatest ever bowler, we do need to reflect and reminisce on the lines that you have mentioned. Personally, I do not have patience for those who claim that Anil is anything less than a legend. Before Anil, Indian teams had a collective culture to be satisfied with less and to rest on small laurels such a occasionally making a foriegn team struggle on Indian soil. Anil's work ethic has obviously rubbed off on several of his bowling mates over the 18 years of his career. The shape of India's bowling is the best today than ever before. It is not a coincidence that Anil is leaving with India's bowling attack being the best in the world. His contribution to Indian cricket is much more than what meets the eye

  • ABP235 on November 2, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    Thanks Suresh Menon for the tribute. Emotional? Yes I am. Sad? no. I had suggested, in my email to Neo Sports team that Kumble should have either retired at end of B'lore Test (homeground) or at the Kotla (best performance ground). He did the second, but only after he realised that his body was indeed getting older. As a true fan of Anil, I would have liked Anil to announce his exit before the start of Delhi test, for he deserved much more tributes to flow in his favour, throughout the Delhi test. Probably Gambhir and Laxman would have dedicated their double tons to Kumble, probably the bowlers would have bowled India to victory. Thank you also for that special praise for K'taka players. As a club level player (bowling fastish spin like Anil & Chadra), hailing from the state, I know what you are saying. A new era is beginning for Indian cricket - artistic Siva & Hirwani bridged between fastish Chandra & Anil, hope Chawla & Mishra do the same unti another Chandra or Kumble surfaces.

  • Bids816 on November 2, 2008, 14:17 GMT

    I have much adoration & respect for not only a fierce competitor, but a true gentlemen of the game, in Anil Kumble. Growing up in Australia, it wasn't the feats of Shane Warne I attempted to emulate, but those of 'Jumbo' in the many battles of schoolyard cricket. It is always a sad time to witness the retirement of one of cricket's most underated 'quiet achiever's' but Kumble's legacy as one of India's greatest bowlers will never be forgotten. All the best in retirement, Anil.

  • vmarda on November 2, 2008, 14:12 GMT

    We are so used to see an Indian test side with Kumble that we took it granted! Now even the thought of watching an Indian side without Kumble makes me sad and nostalgic at the same time!!

  • cricsom5667 on November 2, 2008, 13:56 GMT

    The Indian team has lost one of its most dedicated and selfless sons the likes of whom would be difficult to come by. More importantly Anil was an embodiment of competitiveness, never say die attitude, perfectionist, gentlemanly behaviour, a consumnate team man and surprisingly a person of a very pleasant disposition given his records and stature. I wish him the very best of life off the field too. I would implore him to serve Indian cricket in capacity of coach / administrator as I am sure he will bring the same dedication and professionalism to the job as he did in the field. A great human being and great role model for all youngsters and professionals in various fields of life!

  • SiDX on November 2, 2008, 13:53 GMT

    Kumble, one of the best in business. A complete team player. A captain can always rely on his potential and commitment. He has performed at highest level and to the expectations of millions of Indian cricket fans. It was wonderful watching him for 18 years which is filled with plenty of exciting moments to cherish with. 10 wickets in delhi, 100 in england, Last wicket partnership with srinath in bangalore against australia Lara's wicket with broken jaw.... etc..etc Its hard to replace him in the team. But all good things comes to an end. I like to wish the match winner all the very best and have a great career going forward.... -fan

  • cgkirtikar on November 2, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    What can one say about a true soldier of our nation? I have spent my growing years getting used to seeing the faces of bemused batsmen, (irrespective of their class or country) shaping for a cut only to see a ball from Kumble cannon into their pads and see the umpire raise the obvious dreaded finger or find their precious furniture disturbed. It will take a lifetime to get used to not seeing the smiling assassin loping through his graceful run up and see the tremors in the facial features of many a batsmen. The cricketing fraternity stands poorer today than it did a decade and a half ago, when the bespectacled Bangalorean begun to weave the proverbial web around hundreds of batsmen around the world. Kudos to a true "general" of Indian cricket !! His exploits will remain permanently etched in the hearts of every true cricket follower.

  • cgkirtikar on November 2, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    What can one say about a true soldier of our nation? I have spent my growing years getting used to seeing the faces of bemused batsmen, (irrespective of their class or country) shaping for a cut only to see a ball from Kumble cannon into their pads and see the umpire raise the obvious dreaded finger or find their precious furniture disturbed. It will take a lifetime to get used to not seeing the smiling assassin loping through his graceful run up and see the tremors in the facial features of many a batsmen. The cricketing fraternity stands poorer today than it did a decade and a half ago, when the bespectacled Bangalorean begun to weave the proverbial web around hundreds of batsmen around the world. Kudos to a true "general" of Indian cricket !! His exploits will remain permanently etched in the hearts of every true cricket follower.

  • sureshvshankar on November 2, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    I cried today watching Kumble bowl his last over.

    I was privileged to have seen him exercise his skills over the last 2 decades. I was even more privileged and proud to call myself an Indian and a cricketer after his self-critical (of the team) speech and his understated and stirring defence of the spirit on cricket in January this year at Sydney.

    I watched in disgust at the way he (along with all the others seniors), were hounded and vilified by the sensationalist Indian media and (sorry for this) cricket-illiterate masses for the last few months.

    And I was proud that, like I'm sure all those who understand cricket do, that you handled your retirement with a dignity that typifies you.

    Kumble, to me, you will always represent the best of India, of cricket, and of sportsmanship. You are to cricket what the Tatas are to business - your achievements are beyond question, but the manner of your achievements will live forever in the minds of those who really know the greatest

  • kavalier on November 2, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    Today brought about a lump in my throat when the fact that we shall never ever see Anil bowling for India came about. He was actually not a member of the Fab 4, but Numero Uno in the bowling dept. We shall all miss him and his erudite ways.

  • Indresh47 on November 2, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    You were a great bowler that made every Indian proud ! All the best for the future Anil.

  • Santosh-Jami on November 2, 2008, 13:30 GMT

    The bespectaled image is still fresh in our memories. Best part was, he never cared about his critics and he went on with his job. He had the confidence and along with the cricket skills, his brain was at work which many can't notice. When he came on to the national scene, he didnt have any support bowlers till Srinath and Prasad had come of age around 1996-7. There was never a hard fought series in the 90's at home. The sole reason was Kumble. And the one thing we tend to forget is, the number of overs he delivered in each test. On batting strips, he had to sometimes come as early as 10th over in tests and go till the end of innings doing both the containing job and wicket taking job. Ball in his hand with the broken jaw in Antigua, even his last catch just speaks about him. It is a loss to the cricketing fraternity. But the grace of Kumble will be there for generations. It is an emotional moment for all his fans N his team mates. Wish him good luck and a SALUTE to THE MAN.

  • wlog on November 2, 2008, 13:28 GMT

    I expected that Kumble will retire after this series but I do feel sad. His decision to retire shows that we do not need to put pressure on players to retire. They are very good judge of their contribution and ability so it is better let them go out their own pace with dignity.

    Indian cricket will miss Jumbo.

  • vattikuti on November 2, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    To sum it up ! The Greatest and the the most Sincere Servant the Indian Cricket ever had was Anil kumble. Whole of the Nation is proud of his achievements. He was the man who stood for the Spirit of the game and is a real gentleman in the gentlemen's game called Cricket. An Exceptional bowler with great character. I really miss his action and so does the world of Cricket.

  • jhangs on November 2, 2008, 13:21 GMT

    I was there at the Kotla this afternoon when they flashed the news of Kumble's retirement on the big screen. I want to say that I felt extremely proud as i applauded when he took his round of the stadium; that in my time i had got to see someone who was such a great human being- more than a good player, and someone who I could point out to my 7 year old son as a role model to emulate- both in cricket and in life. From whenever i've heard him speak, i think Kumble has a great career in commentating, should he choose to take that up. Here's wishing him all the best for the years ahead, and a big thank you for all the great stuff he's given us over the last 20 years.

  • HundredPercentBarcelonista on November 2, 2008, 13:21 GMT

    It's the same rant over and over again. I think it is futile to preach Kumble's greatness to people who don't understand simplicity. There was no need to belittle the spin quartet though. To say they only won 23 matches overlooks the fact that cricket is a team sport. You cannot win unless you're good in all departments so please stop calling Kumble a matchwinner. No single player is a matchwinner, it's the single most overused cliche in sport.

  • RHARKI on November 2, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    There is no greater display of humility than the fact that Kumble bowed out of the game at a time when he had failed to make impact as a bowler in his last 5 tests and his credentials as a captain were being questioned. Indian spin attack will never be the same again for quite some years to come. Critics have always criticized Jumbo but he has proven them wrong time and again - Australia tour of 2003-04 as a bowler and Australia tour of 2007-08 as a captain are stark examples. He deserves all the praise for he along with Tendulkar have carried India through from the semi-final defeat in WC1996 to the only team that has challenged the Aussies even in their prime. Hats off to Jumbo!

  • joechris on November 2, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    well written, Kumble is the true modernist amongst the romantics and the pretenders. He reduced the art of spin bowling to its basics and then went on to refine it. Hope he finds life outside the game exciting as well.

  • vijaypc on November 2, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    He sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw. What does suresh expect from the bowlers?? does he expect bowlers to break their jaw and bowl just to be first to get somebody out??

  • oneders on November 2, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    Like many of his deliveries, where before the batsman could comprehend what was happening, he would have been bowled or leg before, his retirement has also left us bamboozled. Thanks for all the memories Jumbo.....

  • davedave on November 2, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    That is right. His record speaks for himself, he is not a great spinner like others that includes the former players Prasanna, Bedi, Chandrasekar or Venkat but he has got more than 600 wickets that shows what a match winner he is for India.

  • cricamateur on November 2, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    A well-written article, a factual tribute to a great cricketer who, despite being the top bowelr in India, and perhaps because of his unassuming manners, was never thought "saleable" by sponsors. What he lost by way of endorsements, he gained by the taste of his own success and also the opportunity it created to showcase his contented and unflinching attitude. The article also makes me feel proud to be from Karnataka, which has produced famous cricketers all of whom are known to be classy gentlemen-not a single one brash or misbehaved- who played in the right spirit of game.

  • kumarr4 on November 2, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Kumble. Sir you are a legend and have been an inspiration, grace and modesty personified in adversity and one heck of a bowler. I bow in respect to you and your parents who raised a son with such great values. I hope you enjoy the retirement and age gracefully unlike some other cricketers who were best on the field but really stunk as person off the field. Cricket fields would be a poorer place without your presence and players would have one "Jumbo" shoes to fill after you. Cheers Anil and thanks for all the memories.

  • Reckless_Akash on November 2, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Lovely article, Suresh! It has been painful for a Kumble fan like me to read all that's been written and hear all that's been said on TV about him recently. True, he was a shadow of his former self in recent times, but still a giant of the game (not just Indian cricket) deserved to choose his moment of departure. I'm glad he chose to go before India's ungrateful media and so-called cricket fans had any more opportunities to malign the greatest bowler the country has ever produced. It is perhaps fitting that his last wicket was an example of the dogged fighting spirit that has characterized his cricket all the way through. If the BCCI has any sense at all, it would do well to ask Kumble to straightaway join the NCA at Bangalore. The young Indian spinners can certainly learn a thing or two about bowling from a proven match-winner!

  • The_other_side on November 2, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    Kumble is a very very good bowler. He has a very nice personna too and is well respected. His bowling, while not orthodox is effective. On his day, I feel cricket has not seen a more devastating spinner. I feel Kumble is the best slow bowler from India and he shut his critics up with his overseas performances in Australia in 2004. Shane Warne was more classical and was well supported by fast bowlers. Muthiah has been lethal mostly in subcontinent pitches. Kumble on the other hand has been our main strike bowler in 90s and early 2000s. Only slow bowler to have given him consistent support has been Harbhajan.

    I am sure, as an ambassador of sport, he has lot more to contribute as an official and probably as a commentator. I wish him well and sure there is lot more to come from Jumbo the retired cricketer.

  • Giscard on November 2, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    One wonderful cricketer, who always was not hyped as the batsmen in this country that adores Batsmsen. He deserved a victory in the last match. His bowling in the Hero Cup and the 10 wickets at kotla are something that not only he but the whole world would never forget. It is an emotional moment for him as well as his fans like me. It was always so nice watching him bowl to countries like WI, Eng etc..where he used to pick wickets like anything. We Miss You Kumble... All the Best

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  • Giscard on November 2, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    One wonderful cricketer, who always was not hyped as the batsmen in this country that adores Batsmsen. He deserved a victory in the last match. His bowling in the Hero Cup and the 10 wickets at kotla are something that not only he but the whole world would never forget. It is an emotional moment for him as well as his fans like me. It was always so nice watching him bowl to countries like WI, Eng etc..where he used to pick wickets like anything. We Miss You Kumble... All the Best

  • The_other_side on November 2, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    Kumble is a very very good bowler. He has a very nice personna too and is well respected. His bowling, while not orthodox is effective. On his day, I feel cricket has not seen a more devastating spinner. I feel Kumble is the best slow bowler from India and he shut his critics up with his overseas performances in Australia in 2004. Shane Warne was more classical and was well supported by fast bowlers. Muthiah has been lethal mostly in subcontinent pitches. Kumble on the other hand has been our main strike bowler in 90s and early 2000s. Only slow bowler to have given him consistent support has been Harbhajan.

    I am sure, as an ambassador of sport, he has lot more to contribute as an official and probably as a commentator. I wish him well and sure there is lot more to come from Jumbo the retired cricketer.

  • Reckless_Akash on November 2, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Lovely article, Suresh! It has been painful for a Kumble fan like me to read all that's been written and hear all that's been said on TV about him recently. True, he was a shadow of his former self in recent times, but still a giant of the game (not just Indian cricket) deserved to choose his moment of departure. I'm glad he chose to go before India's ungrateful media and so-called cricket fans had any more opportunities to malign the greatest bowler the country has ever produced. It is perhaps fitting that his last wicket was an example of the dogged fighting spirit that has characterized his cricket all the way through. If the BCCI has any sense at all, it would do well to ask Kumble to straightaway join the NCA at Bangalore. The young Indian spinners can certainly learn a thing or two about bowling from a proven match-winner!

  • kumarr4 on November 2, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Kumble. Sir you are a legend and have been an inspiration, grace and modesty personified in adversity and one heck of a bowler. I bow in respect to you and your parents who raised a son with such great values. I hope you enjoy the retirement and age gracefully unlike some other cricketers who were best on the field but really stunk as person off the field. Cricket fields would be a poorer place without your presence and players would have one "Jumbo" shoes to fill after you. Cheers Anil and thanks for all the memories.

  • cricamateur on November 2, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    A well-written article, a factual tribute to a great cricketer who, despite being the top bowelr in India, and perhaps because of his unassuming manners, was never thought "saleable" by sponsors. What he lost by way of endorsements, he gained by the taste of his own success and also the opportunity it created to showcase his contented and unflinching attitude. The article also makes me feel proud to be from Karnataka, which has produced famous cricketers all of whom are known to be classy gentlemen-not a single one brash or misbehaved- who played in the right spirit of game.

  • davedave on November 2, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    That is right. His record speaks for himself, he is not a great spinner like others that includes the former players Prasanna, Bedi, Chandrasekar or Venkat but he has got more than 600 wickets that shows what a match winner he is for India.

  • oneders on November 2, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    Like many of his deliveries, where before the batsman could comprehend what was happening, he would have been bowled or leg before, his retirement has also left us bamboozled. Thanks for all the memories Jumbo.....

  • vijaypc on November 2, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    He sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw. What does suresh expect from the bowlers?? does he expect bowlers to break their jaw and bowl just to be first to get somebody out??

  • joechris on November 2, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    well written, Kumble is the true modernist amongst the romantics and the pretenders. He reduced the art of spin bowling to its basics and then went on to refine it. Hope he finds life outside the game exciting as well.

  • RHARKI on November 2, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    There is no greater display of humility than the fact that Kumble bowed out of the game at a time when he had failed to make impact as a bowler in his last 5 tests and his credentials as a captain were being questioned. Indian spin attack will never be the same again for quite some years to come. Critics have always criticized Jumbo but he has proven them wrong time and again - Australia tour of 2003-04 as a bowler and Australia tour of 2007-08 as a captain are stark examples. He deserves all the praise for he along with Tendulkar have carried India through from the semi-final defeat in WC1996 to the only team that has challenged the Aussies even in their prime. Hats off to Jumbo!