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Kumble signals ODI retirement after Cup

Published Feb 25, 2007 12:00am

BANGALORE, Feb 24: Anil Kumble, India's veteran leg-spinner, has said that the 2007 World Cup would probably be his last one-day tournament, a fact that would be an added incentive for him to do well at the event, starting in the Caribbean from March 13.

"It will probably be the last one-day contest for me and it will be challenging. I hope I will be able to play a much bigger role this time," Kumble said in a TV interview. "The World Cup is a tournament everyone looks up to. The last World Cup was good for India; we played really well as a team. We have a very good chance of winning the World Cup."

Kumble, 36, has played in 17 World Cup matches, snaring 28 wickets. Though he was picked only for three games of the 2003 edition, Kumble would have fond memories of the World Cup, having ended as the highest wicket-taker in the 1996 tournament in the Sub-continent. He is also India's leading wicket-taker in both forms of the game – with 334 scalps in ODIS and 547 in Tests – and is expected to play a key role on the sluggish pitches in the West Indies.

Kumble defended his current form, despite managing only five wickets in the six games after his return to the ODI side. "It is unfair to judge performance spread over three series on good batting surfaces. You cannot always get 3-4 wickets per match. The main purpose is to restrict runs. I have the experience and hence am not worried."

India's squad for the World Cup has been termed ‘Dad’s army’ and Greg Chappell, the coach, recently admitted that fielding was the biggest concern ahead of the tournament.

Yet, Kumble had a counter: "You can only do what you can as a fielder. We are all safe on the field. I'm not the most athletic. I have been like that ever since I started. I can't change suddenly and become a Jonty Rhodes. I always put in a 100 per cent. As a unit we have worked hard and we have fielded well,” he stated. –Agencies