First of all, I am aware that the major talking point as far as cricket is concerned right now is the Stanford Twenty20 game. However, I think enough has been said about this all over the press and blogosphere. Overall, I just don’t care enough about the result of the game to discuss it too much, writes Thomas Rooney, exclusively for The Village Cricketer.
Instead, I wanted to talk about a man that has been an excellent servant to test cricket – Anil Kumble. The India captain has retired from international cricket with immediate effect. He decided to stand down during the final day of the third test against Australia after sustaining a finger injury on day three.
Kumble said that ‘the body gave me the decision’ to retire and that he always knew that it was time to call it a day. There was a distinct possibility that he would be unfit for the final test match of the series, so the timing seemed perfect for the spinner.
The decision means that India are technically without a captain as they head to Nagpur looking to secure a series win over Australia. However, one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni – who led the team to victory in the second test – is backed by all cricket betting websites to become the new test skipper.
Looking back at Kumble’s career makes you realise just how excellent he was and how much he did for Indian cricket. He took 619 test match wickets to leave him third in the all-time list behind fellow spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne. This is a record to be proud of; as is the fact he is one of only two players that have ever taken all ten wickets in a test match innings. Kumble achieved this in 1999 against Pakistan.
The fact that he has ended his career at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground has substantial significance as this was where he achieved his 10-74 nine years ago. Kumble admitted that Delhi had been ‘really special’ for him.
The 38-year-old is arguably the greatest Indian match winner of all time and I suppose his retirement may come as welcome news to England. Kevin Pietersen’s side travel to India this month and will eventually play two test matches against a team that is without their main spinner from over the years. Therefore, in theory, England should be pleased that Kumble has called time on his illustrious career. He has an excellent record against England, after all.
However, under Dhoni, this India team have showed real signs of progression. They won the Twenty20 world cup under the leadership of the wicket-keeper and they are moving positively into a new era. They are a very confident side right now and Dhoni’s captaincy will exaggerate this even further.
They even have a new spinner to replace the outgoing Kumble. Amit Mishra – who stepped in for an injured Kumble in the second test against the Aussies – took seven wickets in this match and he could very well cause England problems. KP and co aren’t exactly renowned for handling an unknown spinning quality that well!
Overall, as much as India have lost one of their greatest ever players, I think the timing was right. It is time for a new era of Indian cricket. They will still be strong favourites to beat England according to the cricket odds as Pietersen faces his first real test as captain. Kumble or no Kumble, this is a very talented and enthusiastic India side that will be extremely difficult to beat.