BANGALORE // The India batsman Sourav Ganguly said yesterday his decision to retire could not have come at a more opportune time. He also denied that the decision was rushed into. "I just felt it was time for me to go," Ganguly told Cricinfo, adding that he had arrived at it after he was ignored for the Irani Cup. "Obviously I can't deny the fact that I was disappointed after the Irani Cup selection.
"To be honest, I felt I had two outstanding years except the Sri Lanka series." The middle-order batsman has scored 1,667 in 21 Tests at 45.05 in the last two years. When asked why he faced greater scrutiny than his other senior colleagues, he said: "Probably people didn't like my face." Asked if there was a sense of relief now, Ganguly said: "The pressure of doing well will always be there and that probably brings the best out of everyone. Whether it's a relief or not, all I can say is I've not been sad."
He also denied he wanted to stick around for two more years. Meanwhile, an angry Anil Kumble lashed out at the media yesterday for dwelling on the retirement plans of the senior players ahead of the upcoming Australia series. Kumble, who turns 38 on Oct 17, was bombarded with questions of his future, following Ganguly's decision to call it quits. "I will not say yes or no," Kumble said when asked if the Australian series would also be his last. "I will let you know when I play my last series. Let the players decide when they want to go."
Speculation about Kumble's future mounted yesterday when he wrote in the Hindustan Times that this would be his last Test in his home city of Bangalore. "By the time you read this on Wednesday, some hours would have passed since Sourav announced that this would be his last series," Kumble wrote. "[This would be] marking the last time that some of us who've played together for India for long - Sourav himself, Sachin [Tendulkar], Rahul [Dravid], [VVS] Laxman and I - would be playing a Test series together.
Asked specifically what his plans were in the context of his remarks and whether he would be announcing his retirement after the series, Kumble shot back: "I don't know which newspaper you are referring to. There are millions of newspapers in India and a lot is written in all of them. "Our focus will be to perform as a team," he said. "We are really satisfied by the way we have gone with our preparations for the series. We hope to play good cricket throughout."