Kumble requested that no extraneous motive should be read into their decision and stressed that they always had a ‘three-year term’ in their minds when they took charge.

A seemingly routine press-conference turned sombre when suddenly Anil Kumble read out a statement in which he mentioned that he and his group of cricketers-turned-administrators will not contest the forthcoming Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) elections.

The trio of Kumble, the KSCA president; Javagal Srinath, KSCA secretary; and Rahul Dravid, committee member, displayed no rancour while dwelling on the decision to step aside. Dignity and a sense of pride, about having implemented a set of measures that they set out to do as cricket administrators, were largely evident when the three men, who served Indian cricket admirably, dealt with the questions from a flummoxed media.

The churn started once Kumble said: “We believe that a constantly evolving association that accommodates fresh ideas, dependable processes and systems ensures it remains in good health. It is with these ideals, we have decided to ‘not contest’ the ensuing election. We have enjoyed this innings serving Karnataka cricket immensely and would like to acknowledge everyone starting from our long serving groundsman Rama to Ramaraj, who ensured optimum caffeine in our bodies.”

Kumble requested that no extraneous motive should be read into their decision and stressed that they always had a ‘three-year term’ in their minds when they took charge.

“We were focussed on developing cricket and also meet the needs of the members and the cricket enthusiasts. We have largely done what we set out to do and it is time for the others to take forward the association. I believe that we have walked the talk,” Kumble said.

Srinath reiterated Kumble’s principles and said: “The building blocks have been set. An office-bearer’s post is a responsibility and not a privilege. It is not anybody’s fiefdom.” They also emphasised that their decision was not a reaction to a few critical voices. “I am used to criticism, so is Rahul and Srinath,” Kumble said.

Dravid commended his senior duo and said: “Both Anil and Srinath have given three of their best years to the association and it has been a great show.” Dravid spoke about the emphasis of the two-day format in the senior leagues and the way the Safi Darashah tournament provided opportunities for the top 60 players of Karnataka.

“It is understood that the top 15 players will get opportunities in the Ranji Trophy but thanks to the Safi Darashah tournament, we managed to give exposure for 60 of our players to the four-day format,” he said.

Friday evening at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was not just about ‘talk’ as Kumble and the other office-bearers also released an exhaustive book that dealt with what the current committee did — ranging from infrastructure-initiatives to facilities for the public — during its term. “We believe that every committee should submit a report like this,” Kumble said.

Later he said: “We are still members, we still care for the game and we are available for any help.”

And like always, he put cricket above everything else.

More In: Cricket | Sport