Kirsten’s presence will help India’s strategy against Proteas: Kumble

March 12th, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Dubai, March 12 (IANS) New Indian team coach Gary Kirsten’s long stint in the South African team will help in sharpening their strategy as they prepare to take on the visiting Proteas in the upcoming Test series, according to Indian Test captain Anil Kumble. “Gary Kirsten has been in the South African dressing room for a long time and has gathered a lot of experience,” Kumble told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference here Wednesday, where he was speaking as brand ambassador for Manipal University that is setting up an engineering college in this Gulf city.

“He will be taking over as coach just before the series against South Africa and this will definitely help us get details as to how the South Africans think in their dressing room,” he said.

The first tie of the three-Test series starts in Chennai March 26.

About India’s prospects in the series, Kumble was positive.

Stating that the Indian team now is mentally very strong, he said, “We really talk on the field, you know. The skills are there in the players.”

He said that the team’s performance in the recent tour to Australia bodes well for the team.

“It’s good that we played well against a strong side (like Australia) and that too by beating them twice,” he said.

The M.S. Dhoni-led team beat Australia twice in a row in the best of three finals of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series earlier this month.

“It’s important that we carry this momentum forward,” he said.

As for the controversies that surrounded the team during its entire tour, he said, “I hope the people remember our victories in Perth (Test) and the ODIs rather than Sydney.”

India had lost the second Test against Australia in Sydney amid a number of controversial umpiring decisions that went against India and racism allegations against spinner Harbhajan Singh.

India came back strongly in the third Test, after the International Cricket Council (ICC) pulled out West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor from doing duty in the tour in the face of complaints from the Indian team, and stunned everybody by beating Australia in the third Test in Perth, a ground traditionally believed to help Australia.

India lost the series 1-2.

Kumble, India’s highest Test wicket-taker, was also happy about the Indian team’s success in the Under-19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur this month.

“The Under-19 win augurs well for the Indian cricket team,” he said.

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