Kumble urges seniors to focus on last Test

Updated: 25 January 2008 13:22 IST

Indian skipper admitted that the timing of announcing the ODI side was not right and hoped his axed senior players would shrug off disappointment.

Kumble urges seniors to focus on last Test

Adelaide:

Indian skipper Anil Kumble on Wednesday admitted that the timing of announcing the one-day side was far from "ideal" but hoped his axed senior players would shrug off the disappointment to stay focussed for the crucial fourth Test against Australia, starting here on Thursday.

"(The selection) is not in their hands. I have gone through it, it's not ideal (the announcement of the team before the Test) but that's the way. It's a bit disappointing.

"It's not easy on senior players, having said that we would keep our focus on this Test," the ace leg spinner said.

Kumble said the senior players were mature enough to take the exclusion in their stride.

"It's a challenge (to get them around). People (not selected) would be disappointed but they have played enough cricket to understand, why this (Test) is important for Indian cricket and to stay in the series," he said.

Shockingly Sourav Ganguly, and to a lesser extent Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have been left out of the one-day squad for the tri-series, by the selectors.

Kumble was statesman-like while speaking on the importance of the final and deciding Test.

"It all started here (in 2003-04), it's a special venue for me for India as the last four years have gone well for Indian cricket. Now the opportunity is there for us to level the series."

Kumble also looked at his own revival, starting from the Adelaide game in 2003-04, and conceded this time around it's definitely going to be his final match.

"They said the same (about my last visit to Australia) in 2003. But this time I am sure it's the last time. It's been great so far, we came with a purpose of winning the series in Australia.

"We have held our head high and hopefully we would perform which would (inspire) the Indian teams in future to do what we couldn't achieve here," he said.

Kumble, unsurprisingly, stood up for his tribe -the bowlers-- and spoke glowingly about their contribution.

"Before we came here, we were asked if we could pick 20 Australian wickets in the series. As a senior most experienced bowler, I am delighted that our young bowling attack has stepped up the plate."
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The Indian pace trinity-- R P Singh, Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma -- outshone their counterparts at Perth and Kumble admitted they were undecided on including Harbhajan Singh on a pitch, which is tipped to help spinners too.

"There are a few possibilities but we would like to take another look at the pitch. It (five bowlers) is an option and that is something we will definitely assess," Kumble said.

There has been a suggestion that Indian fast bowlers could be found out on this pitch where the bounce would not be as big a factor nor would be the breeze.

"I am sure this place offers swing. As for reverse swing (considering the dry conditions at the Adelaide Oval), I would say we are not ignoring the possibility and (bowling coach) Venkatesh Prasad is working hard on it with the boys."

One of India's success story in bowling has been the continued dominance over Ricky Ponting and Kumble could not hide his glee that his bowlers had been successful in taming one of the greatest batsman of modern era.

"He (Ponting) is definitely a key member of the Australian team. Success against him has allowed us to work on their middle-order sooner than what would have been the case.

"It doesn't matter whether it's Harbhajan or Ishant or RP Singh or me. As long as anyone can do the job it's okay."

Kumble also exuded confidence that India's young guns, if nurtured properly, had it in them to take the game forward for the nation.

"Indian team is undergoing transition. That's the key. India certainly has the talent. It's just a matter of ensuring they (the younger lot) get the confidence.

"In four or five years time, I am sure, India would have a good set of players and Indian cricket would move forward," he said.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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