Anil Kumble retired from Test cricket in 2008 as the highest wicket-taker for India in Test matches and ODIs © Getty Images
Anil Kumble retired from Test cricket in 2008 as the highest wicket-taker for India in Test matches and ODIs © Getty Images

Anil Kumble retired from all forms of cricket on January 4, 2010, citing his various off-field involvements. This should be seen as a selfless gesture from the aging warrior. Kumble has taken a conscious decision to forego the option to earn millions in IPL while continuing to work on other areas that are directly impacting the next generation of players.

 

Anil made a presentation to the BCCI on having a session with younger players of India, on how to manage their fame, money and other matters. This was a wonderful gesture by Kumble for this is one area where youngsters often fall prey to the vices. If Kumble and BCCI agree on the proposed solution, many a parent will be thankful to Kumble for the directions provided to the young cricketers. His management skills will be very much needed for the NCA to get to the next level.

 

More recently, he contested the KSCA elections for the post of President and registered a landslide victory. His team consisted of ex-players (like Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad) who are keen to contribute to the cause of Karnataka cricket. Now, his team is running the show and all eyes are on them to see how they improve the standards (whether it is the team performance, stadia infrastructure, public amenties, etc). This will, no doubt, be the blueprint for all ex-cricketers who want to make a mark in the cricketing world of Management.

 

Kumble has also been appointed to the athlete’s commission of the WADA from January 1, 2009. I feel that he has been selected to help convince the Indian team on the random testing stipulations of WADA. No further news has come out in this area but it looks like the matter has been either put on the back-burner or resolved amicably.

 

Coming to his on-field activities, Kumble retired from Test cricket in 2008 as the highest wicket-taker for India in Test matches and ODIs. He continued to play for RCB team in the IPL, graduating to become its captain after the initial stints of Rahul Dravid and Kevin Pietersen. He led his team gamely with performances that made his supporters wonder why he had left the game at the highest level.

 

The wickets he took, especially at the strike-rate and average he obtained them in, was reminiscent of the good old Kumble. No wonder, the initial reaction to Kumble’s decision was that of surprise. Time spares no one and Kumble is not an exception here – he must have surely felt his bowling shoulder and muscles ache at the sight of playing a minimum of 15 matches in a span of 6-8 weeks.

 

Right from his early days, Kumble has always put the team’s interest ahead of his own. Ever the team player, the current decision would have been discussed in detail with his franchise. Vijay Mallya would love to have the veteran help his team in some capacity – be it as a coach or a bowling consultant. Knowing Anil Kumble, he will do his best in any role that is given to him.

 

(Madhusudan GR is an ardent fan of Indian cricket team, he has been hooked for life from the moment he watched Kapil Dev lift the 1983 World Cup at Lords. It’s very rarely that he doesn’t follow an Indian match)