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We knew the day wasn’t too far off. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. He was 38 after all and had been playing competitive cricket under high pressure for nearly two decades. Anil Kumble has decided to call it a day. Yesterday, on the last day of the 3rd cricket Test between India and Australia, he announced his retirement from Test cricket.

His figures stand testimony to how important he was to India’s bowling attack. He took a massive 619 wickets, much more than any other Indian in 132 Tests. Kapil Dev, the next in the list had 434 Test wickets. Kumble also had an impressive average of 29.65. His best was that memorable 10/74 against Pakistan in one innings. Only the second mn in the history of Test cricket to take all 10 wickets in an innings. Fairly late in his career, another dream came true. In his last tour of England he showed his typical grit to score his only Test century, 110 not out.

What set him apart as someone to be admired? I would say his total dedication to the game and his team. He always gave, as he said himself, 100 % all the time. He showed tremendous courage as well in very difficult circumstances. One can never forget his bowling with a broken jaw in a Tour of the West Indies. At that time he said” At least I can go home now with the thought that I did my best”.

In a game which always had overtures of gamesmanship and political skill, Kumble stood apart. He was Mr. Professional to the last. He was very reticent, compared to many with lesser achievements in the cricket world. He let his bowling do the talking for him. He was resilient and determined to do the very best for his team.

Farewell, Anil Kumble. You have performed heroic service for Indian cricket and we will miss you.

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This is Post No: 335 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.