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His place in the hierarchy of great Indian spin bowlers

As far as ODIs are concerned, Kumble stands at the top of the list by a long way even if Harbhajan Singh has made rapid strides in the last few years.

His overall figures are quite remarkable – 337 wickets from 271 matches at an average fractionally under 31, a strike rate of 43 and an economy rate of 4.3 with eight four wicket hauls and two five wicket hauls – and compare favourably with the best in the business. He is the leading Indian wicket taker, comfortably ahead of the second placed Javagal Srinath who retired with 315 scalps.

Moreover, Kumble’s bowling was suited to one day cricket. His hallmarks were accuracy, subtle changes of spin and pace, an awkward bounce, the ball skidding off the pitch and it was always on the cards that Kumble would be very successful in the shorter version of the game.

In Test cricket, the competition is stiffer – Subash Gupte, Vinoo Mankad, Bishen Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar – the list of outstanding Indian spin bowlers seems endless. But Kumble compares favourably with the greats – a fact underlined by his excellent figures – 547 wickets from 113 Tests at an average of 28.65 and a strike rate of a little over 65. Read moreread more

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Extraordinarily after 17 years of international cricket, his bag of tricks is still unfathomable as he mixes the leg break with the googly and flipper cleverly all sent down with a wicked bounce and never giving the batsman any respite.

That is the Kumble the cricketing world has admired for long but he has other qualities going for him as well – great mental strength, fierce determination, immense courage – remember him bowling in the West Indies five years ago with a broken jaw - and he remains a team man to the core. His retirement from ODIs means that Kumble is free to concentrate on Test matches and that can only be a welcome augury for Indian cricket.

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