Tendulkar will no longer carry Kumble's cap to Umpire at Kotla
New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) As Anil Kumble ended his 18 long years of illustrious career, the outgoing India captain didn't forget the practice he has followed at his favourite venue Ferozeshah Kotla for the last nine years.
When Kumble came out to bowl for the last time here Sunday, Sachin Tendulkar walked up to him to take his cap and give it to the umpire. An emotional Kumble told him 'one last time' to end the tradition that started in 1999 when the leg-spinner bagged a 'Perfect 10' in an innings against Pakistan.
In what started as a good-luck charm became a tradition which the two stalwarts always maintained whenever they played at the Kotla.
And Sunday, it was indeed an emotional moment for the two, as Tendulkar took Kumble's cap one last time.
'Today 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. That continued till today but unfortunately I didn't get a wicket in the last hour,' an emotional Kumble told reporters as he bid adieu to international cricket.
His sudden decision took the cricketing fraternity by surprise and also nothing could have been arranged by the Indian cricket board to give a fitting farewell to a great cricketer, who showed extraordinary courage and commitment on the field.
A good Sunday crowd went numb when the two giant screens flashed a one-liner saying 'Anil Kumble has decided to retire after this match and will not travel to Nagpur for the final Test,' but soon raised slogans hailing Kumble.
But Kumble remained unmoved. Whether it was bowling with a broken jaw in 2002 or with 11 stitches on his little left finger, he has always been a fighter and lived up to it even in his last outing.
Kumble was given a huge standing ovation when he led the team for the last time on to the field in the second innings. His team mates cheered him and the Australians patted him.
When he came out to face the media sporting the faded India cap, he looked emotional and despite so many achievements over the years he stood with all humility.
'This cap means a lot to me. I've cherished this cap. It's a very proud privilege to have got this. I know how hard I had to fight to get this cap and how hard it is to play at the international level. It's a proud moment to represent a billion people whose expectations keep rising each time you go out there,' he said.
'It's not easy to satisfy all those people who are watching. But I'd like to thank all those people for the affection they have showered on me and the Indian cricket team. There have been tough times and rough moments, we have given the fans some sad moments and sorrow, too, but we've also given them happiness.'
Even on his last day on the field he tried to be a fighter, but felt that the energy has waned with time.
'I fought that, I took various painkillers and tried all sorts of things, but ultimately the injury to the hand said 'enough now.' It was the right time to move on,' were his last few words sporting the India cap.
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