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No words. Just awe!

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Anil Kumble’s retirement from one day international cricket was expected and will serve Indian cricket well, since it will help extend his Test match career. He has not been the first choice spinner in the shorter version of the game for quite some time now. Ganguly and Dravid have shown an inclination towards Harbhajan Singh over Kumble and there was no point in him continuing. With all due respect, Kumble was just a shadow of the one day bowler, who tormented batsmen within the first 15 overs as well as at the death, post his return from the rotator cuff injury. His contribution with the bat was minimum and fielding was never his claim to fame.

But the fact remains that he is the best spinner the country has ever produced. What makes him the best is that, unlike the prolific quartet of Chandra, Venkat, Bedi and Prasanna, he never had a quality spinner to partner him at the other end. He had to deliver every time he stepped into the field, and he has managed to accomplish it more times than not. He has run through opposition more frequently and won more matches for the team in Tests, but his contribution in coloured clothing should not be overshadowed by his achievements in whites.

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He scored 37 runs off 32 balls. The calm at the crease, the unhurried manner in which he walked around, 3 huge sixes, a pull shot of the second ball he faced, nudges to the offside for singles – all were so typical of him. Then he tried to smash one more over the rope, but did not get it out of the middle of the bat. As the ball soared high and Sean Williams, one of Zimbabwe’s better fielders got underneath it, millions of ardent followers of the game around the globe would have uttered a silent prayer for Williams to drop the catch. But it was not to be, and it was time to say goodbye to Inzamam-ul-haq. The members of the Pakistan team were there to salute their captain, arguably the greatest batsman to grace the turf for Pakistan in coloured clothing. Understandably, Inzamam was in tears. So were many of his fans, whom he has entertained so well for the past 15 years. The 60 off 37 deliveries against New Zealand in the 1992 World Cup and the century against India in 2004-05, chasing an improbable 350 to win, will be remembered forever.

The developments over the last couple of weeks have taken a toll on Inzy, and it reached a point in which he could take it no more. The shocking loss to Ireland and the huge outcry back home were bad enough for any captain to handle. The death of Bob Woolmer perhaps, was the last straw and led him to take the decision of quitting One day international cricket. He will continue to represent his country in Tests. But knowing the fickle nature of cricket in Pakistan, one can only hope, wait and watch.

Inzy – Thanks for all the cricketing memories.

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