Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The retirement was overdue

It seems churlish not to say nice things when somebody retires. And I do admit I was a little touched when Kumble walked up to bowl his final over after 18 years of international cricket, during which time he bowled India to victory more than anybody else, albeit on helpful Indian pitches. But it has to be said that he did not deserve a place in the side for this series, or even the previous one in Sri Lanka. He averaged nearly fifty runs a wicket in the last four series, three of them played on sub-continental pitches.
Kumble also has been less of a team-man than it appears. He played in the first Test, and maybe even in the third, with a dodgy shoulder. It was ironic to hear him say that he decided to announce his retirement because he did not want to play in the fourth Test without being fully fit as that would be unfair to the team. I mean, with eleven stitches in his hand, and with only a four-day break between the third and fourth Tests, there was no way he could have played anyway. And given his fitness, bowling form, and lacklustre captaincy, there was every likelihood of his being dropped from the side. So to turn the retirement into a noble gesture was a bit grandiose. And so was that last inconsequential catch he took of Johnson, and the flinging of the ball in anger to chide the team for dropping all those catches. His angry reaction to Amit Mishra dropping a catch off his bowling was equally out of wack, considering it was Kumble who started the rash of dropped catches with the vital one of Hayden off Mishra's bowling on the third day. Anyway, I'm looking forward to watching Amit Mishra now, instead of the predictable Kumble. Ever since the Lankans figured out that Kumble could be played like an in-swinger, he really lost his wicket-taking ability. Nobody played for the leg-spin, and everybody kept their pads out of harm's way. Q.E.D Kumble.


scorpicity said...

Let's enjoy the memories we have had with him... and wish him luck... what do you reckon he will now do... become a commentator or a coach.

Sumit said...

scorpicity, judging by his poor captaincy and one-dimensional bowling, i think he would make a poor coach. going by his interactions with the press, such as his claim that his absence made a big difference in the delhi test, i doubt we'll get straight talk from him. let's enjoy mishy instead.

Sam said...

did he actually say that his absence made a big difference in the Delhi test? i can't believe it! but wasn't he there in the delhi test, on the field, most of the time? it wasn't as if he was about to run through the innings when he got injured. and it wasn't the Kotla pitcvh he was expecting -so he must be really suffering from delusions of grandeur if he thought that he was being missed.
well, it does grate a bit when people go overboard in heaping encomiums on a player simply because he has retired. For god's sake, he didn't do anyone a favour by picking up wickets - that was his job - and got a pretty long stint at it - for 18 years, rather lucky, i must say. This may be the wrong time to do it, but to be scrupulous from the cricketing point of view, one also has to take into account matches that we have lost because of Kumble's bowling/captaincy - such as the Melbourne test in the lasy series, for example. And as you rightly pointed out, he should never have been picked for any sri lankan match once Jayasuriya & Co piled up 900 or so against him.

Christopher Poshin David said...

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Rajesh said...

Retirement was just in time.