Kumble chooses to remain non-committal

Now happily retired from international cricket, Kumble has shown tremendous commitment and fitness in his role as leader and key bowler for the Challengers. The ace leggie, who will turn 40 in October, easily has the best economy rate of all the Challengers bowlers, and is third in the all-comers’ list behind R Ashwin (6.37) and Murali Kartik (6.48) when it comes to economy (6.53) with just three games of IPL III to go.

Shortly after the Challengers lost to the Mumbai Indians in the first semifinal on Wednesday night, Kumble was asked if he would like to continue with the Challengers for IPL IV and beyond.

“We have lost today, we have one more game to go in the competition,” the former Indian captain replied. “It’s too early to talk about the next season. I will have a chat with the franchisee at some stage once this tournament is over, and then take a final call.”

Kumble has been a wonderful asset to the Challengers throughout the IPL. He took over as skipper midway through last season, after the Bangalore boys got off to a terrible start under Kevin Pietersen, and rallied the troop brilliantly to get them through to the final.

This year too, he has led by example, exceptional with the ball, outstanding in the leadership stakes and a great motivator on and off the park. He might have retired from regular competitive cricket, but he still has plenty to offer as a player and a leader. The Challengers won’t be in a minority of one in trying to procure his services for the next season, provided Kumble himself is open to the idea of continuing to remain active in the Twenty20 format.

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