November 2, 2008

Anil Kumble retires from cricket

Anil Kumble, India's Test captain, has announced his retirement from international cricket and will not play the last Test of the series against Australia in Nagpur. His announcement came during the fifth day's play in Delhi, the scene of his greatest bowling effort, at the end of which he was carried off the field by teammates in an emotional farewell.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni will now lead India in the Nagpur Test as they hold on to their 1-0 lead from Delhi.

In 132 Tests, Kumble took 619 wickets, the most among Indians and third on the all-time list. He also led the team in 14 Tests, but struggled with the ball in 2008, taking 28 wickets in ten Tests at an average of 50.57.

He was also plagued by injury concerns during the current series - picking up a shoulder injury in the first Test in Bangalore and injuring his finger in the third Test in Delhi - which ultimately sealed his decision to retire. "It's a tough decision when you have played 18 years of cricket and been so competitive. But my body helped make the decision and also, this [finger] injury," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

He captained India to three wins, with the 72-run victory at Perth against Australia in January undoubtedly one of the high points during his reign.

The legspinner was also the second player in history, after Jim Laker, to bag 10 wickets in an innings when he ran through Pakistan in the second innings at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. A fitting farewell that his last match was also at the same venue.

In December 2001, in Bangalore, he became India's first spinner to take 300 Test wickets, and a year later, he became the first to do so in one-dayers. In August 2007, at The Oval he went past Glenn McGrath's 563 wickets and in January 2008 crossed the 600 mark, to stand behind only Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, emphasising his contribution to spin's golden era. And at The Oval he scored his only Test century after 17 years and 118 matches.

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