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Friday, March 30, 2007

Anil Kumble quits one-day cricket

In a cricketing career spanning 17 years till date, Anil Kumble has made it a habit to be part of the playing XI for Team India. His outstanding performances have ensured that he has played a pivotal role for the team. But finally a day came when Kumble had to warm the benches, more recently in the 2007 World Cup. That is when Kumble decided to retire from ODIs.

"I have always wanted to be a part of the team once I was chosen and, as days passed, it became a habit. But it did not happen in the previous World Cup in 2003. I was a bit hurt and at that time I wanted to call it a day, but a few of my well-wishers advised me to stay on since they felt that I still had a lot of cricket in me. So I hung on.

In this World Cup, which was really a special one, I found no place in the team and then I decided to make way for youngsters. But I shall be still open to selection for Tests," said Kumble, whose brother Dinesh, mother Saroja, wife Chetna, daughters Aaruni, Svasti and son Mayas were present on the occasion.

After the 2003 World Cup, Kumble did not figure in the ODI team regularly and played only 19 matches before he was picked for the World Cup team. But it was disappointing for him that he featured in only one match against minnows Bermuda, with Harbhajan Singh playing the other two matches.

Asked whether he was hurt by being overlooked for the World Cup matches, the 37-year-old said: "Certainly not, every player has to deserve a place in the team. The team management had a certain strategy and we can't complain if we don't fit into it.

Harbhajan has been bowling very well. He is in fact a great bowler who is young and learning with experience. Since the plan was to play three seamers and one spinner, Harbhajan was the only choice."

The ace leg-spinner said that he would have loved to have ended his career on a high but that did not happen. "We had a great chance as this was the best 15 for the World Cup. We thought we could make it.

But it did not happen and things went horribly wrong. It has been a long journey and it is always nice to finish on a high note but everybody cannot have a fairy-tale ending every time," he said.

Kumble added: "I have great memories, like that partnership with Srinath, or the World Cup quarters against Pak in Bangalore."


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