Anil Kumble is set to announce his retirement from one-day cricket on Friday, March 30, at a function organised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association. News of the function, to be held at its M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, ends speculation over whether or not Kumble would hang up his coloured India shirt.
The speculation began soon after India's exit from the World Cup when various media sources harked back to an interview Kumble had given to CNN-IBN, the television news channel, before the team left for the West Indies. Kumble had said that this would be his last World Cup, and "probably" his last one-day tournament.
The official announcement, when it comes, will take no one by surprise, as Kumble (36) has been in and out of the one-day team in recent times. A recurring shoulder injury that has often needed pain-killing injections prompted Kumble to concentrate on Test matches at the expense of one-day tournaments. He pulled out of the recent home series against West Indies and Sri Lanka, paving the way for Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar to get a go. It was understood, among those that mattered in Indian cricket, that Kumble would be used sparingly and then brought back for the World Cup, where his experience could prove critical.
That said, Kumble played in just one match in the Caribbean, picking up 3 for 38 against Bermuda. Harbhajan was preferred over Kumble as the lone spinner in India's matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, both of which they lost.
A giant of a matchwinner in Tests, Kumble's efficacy in the limited-overs version of the game has fallen away somewhat in the recent past, especially since he lost a bit of pace and zip after suffering a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2001. However, his overall numbers still make for very good reading: 337 wickets from 271 matches at an average of 30.89 and an economy rate of 4.30. His best figures, 6 for 12, came in the final of the Hero Cup against West Indies, at Kolkata, which India won.