Kumble plays down injury concerns

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/k/kumble_pti.jpg' class='caption'> India captain Anil Kumble says the injuries to him and Sachin Tendulkar are minor and no cause for concern before the second Test.

Updated: April 15, 2008 12:16 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar has aggravated his groin injury he picked up in Australia but captain Anil Kumble today assured the master batsman would play in the second Test against South Africa in Ahmedabad.

Tendulkar did not take the field for most part of the final day of the first cricket Test here, coming in and walking out on two or three occasions.

"During the match, Tendulkar aggravated the groin injury he picked up in Australia. Besides this, he also has bit of a stomach upset," Kumble informed, hastening to add that there was no cause of doubt on the veteran batsman's availability for the second Test starting on April 3.

Kumble also made light of the slight niggle on his bowling arm which forced him to take rest for most part of the post-lunch session today.

"I have a slight niggle in the shoulder of my bowling arm. I knew the match was heading for a draw, that gave me some rest. I should be 100 per cent OK before the second Test," he said.

The Indian captain said Ishant Sharma's recovery has been satisfactory and the young Delhi pacer should make it to the squad for Ahmedabad if he recovers fully from his finger injury.

"Ishant Sharma is looking good and progressing well. In two or three days, we will decide whether he would make it to the team (for the second Test). He is looking good and progressing well. If he recovers fully, he will be part of the team," Kumble said.

Ishant was not named in the first Test squad due to a finger injury but was asked to be with the team.

Kumble also criticised the "flat" pitch at Chepauk though he said cricketers should play on whatever wicket was given to them.

"Wicket was not the usual Chennai wicket. We were expecting it to deteriorate and take spin on the fourth and fifth days when South Africa batted. It did not do so," he said at the post-match press conference.

"The ground staff did not get enough time to prepare it because of rain. The bowlers did their best on this pitch. You can't expect them to do better.

"I don't want to give any message to curators. We are prepared to play on whatever wicket is given to us. But, I hope there will be an even contest between the bat and the ball," he emphasised.

The captain could not hide his happiness on Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid's record breaking achievements.

"The match will always be remembered for Sehwag's triple century and Dravid breaking into the 10,000-run club. We have all witnessed the best ever from the duo. Considering the conditions and the heat, to keep that kind of concentration is amazing.

"Rahul (Dravid) has been a fantastic batsman right through his career. The 10,000-run milestone is special for him. I am privileged to have seen from the dressing room each and every run he scored." On Sehwag missing Brian Lara's highest Test innings record of 400 not out, Kumble said, "He (Sehwag) probably had the best opportunity. But scoring 300 is something monumental. To get two triple hundreds in a short career is something amazing."

Kumble said had he won the toss and bowled second, the result could have been different. "Toss was crucial. If we had bowled second, it would have been slightly different," he said.

He said scoring 627 and taking 87-run first innings lead after South Africa's first innings 540 showed his team's character.

"The way we came back facing 540 runs showed our character. We were in a position to put some pressure on the South Africans by taking a good lead. We went for the runs yesterday and that was why we lost a few wickets'.

"I thought everybody in the team put in their best effort in this Test. It was tough in the first couple of days when the wicket was so flat. But we did well to pull back after a huge score the South African's had (in the first innings)."

Asked for his views of the Proteas negotiating the experienced Indian spinners, the leggie said, "They played good cricket. They have improved a lot." Kumble asked the media and the fans not to think of only spinners taking all the 20 wickets when India play at home.

"People start talking about the spinners from day one till the last day. We have other bowlers to take early wickets though it did not happen this time. It's not the two spinners alone who would take the 20 wickets.

"I am hopeful, we will take 20 opposition wickets in the next two Tests," he said.

When pointed out that R P Singh did not do well as compared to his opposite number Dale Steyn, Kumble shot back, "No. I think he (R P Singh) did exceptionally well. He is playing his first Test at home and that too on difficult conditions. It was surely a tough pitch to bowl on. Every player is different but Steyn bowled well."

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