"It's tough when you've played 18 years of international cricket. But the body was asking questions every day. Probably, the injury helped me make the decision," Anil Kumble said at charged press conference in Delhi.
People say he is not emotional, but that's far from true. He is passionate about cricket, among the most fair men you can hope to meet and gets angry when he does not meet the high standards he sets for himself. After an emotional final day, he addressed a charged press conference. Excerpts:
How difficult was the decision?
It's tough when you've played 18 years of international cricket. Delhi has been special. I have some fond memories, personally as a cricketer and also as a team. But the body was asking questions every day. Probably, the injury helped me make the decision.
On when he informed his teammates and whether recent criticism pushed him towards retirement?
I did inform them (team-mates). I made the decision the previous night. I didn't take the decision based on people saying whether I should play or not. The criticism started 18 years ago when people said I wouldn't play two Test matches for India.
On whether he will play in the IPL?
I'll take a call when I get there but for now I am obligated to play the IPL.
On whether the post-surgery phase was more satisfying?
People questioning me, my ability and I had to go through that then, now at the end of my career and even in the middle. In that sense, after the shoulder surgery, I've done exceptionally well to have played eight years. To have bowled so many overs and have got so many wickets.
On what made him carry on despite the criticism?
My self-belief. That is the most important thing. I can proudly say that I have given my 100% right through my career. On the injury that forced the decision
It was a pretty nasty cut, you could see the flesh. I left it to the doctor and he did a fantastic job of putting 11 stitches there. The stitches would only come out on the third day of the Nagpur Test. Anyway, I had more or less decided this would be my last series.
On what he would like to be remembered for?
I'd like to be remembered for giving 100% every time I went out there. I put the team above self, right through my career. To have shared the dressing room with the likes of Sachin, Laxman, Rahul, Sourav and the younger lot, Viru, M.S., Harbhajan, Zaheer and the rest of them. I've had some fantastic moments. When I started there was Kapil, Azhar, Ravi. I believe Indian cricket has certainly gone further from the time when I started, in terms of results, not just in India but also abroad.
On the ritual of Tendulkar taking the cap from Kumble and giving it to the umpire before an over
I've shared a lot of time in the dressing room with Sachin. When he took the cap, I said to him, 'One last time'. It all started here in 1999 when he took the cap from me and said you'll get a wicket this over. Unfortunately I didn't get a wicket in the last hour.
On his immediate plans
I won't be travelling with the team though I will go to Nagpur. I want to see Sourav's last Test and wish Laxman on his 100th. And win the series.