We are pretty confident, says Kumble

July 14th, 2008 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Chennai, July 14 (IANS) Projecting a very optimistic and confident outlook, India’s Test captain Anil Kumble and coach Gary Kirsten were Monday hopeful of good results in the forthcoming three-Test cricket series in Sri Lanka. Addressing the media here on conclusion of a one-day training camp prior to the team’s departure for Sri Lanka Tuesday, Kumble said: “As a Test team we have really performed well. In that sense, we are pretty confident. In the last year or so, we have done exceptionally well in Tests. We have been consistent. I am sure we will be able to put up a good show and ensure a series win.”

Kumble’s optimism was influenced by the all-round strength of the Indian team that he felt has the strength and depth in both batting and bowling to win the series.

“We are looking forward to the challenges in Sri Lanka. I know it is not going to be easy, but we have the potential to win the series,” he said.

Welcoming the return of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh after serving a five-match ban, Kumble said: “Harbhajan is an integral part and a key member of the squad. He will go out there and give his best given the opportunity. He is looking forward to the challenge of getting wickets.”

Pointing out that the team composition would be influenced by the conditions in Sri Lanka where the wickets are not exactly fast bowler-friendly, Kumble said: “It is all about team work and just not the spinners alone handling the load. It is also four or five bowlers who will play in the team. It all depends on what is on offer. Generally, we know what the wickets are like. However, it is the responsibility of four or five bowlers who are on this tour.”

Of more significance is the ICC’s decision to implement on trial basis during the series a new rule allowing the fielding side to lodge three appeals per innings on decisions taken by onfield umpires.

While conceding that it is an uncharted territory, Kumble said he hoped to talk to officials concerned on reaching Sri Lanka to get clarity on the appeals.

“You will have to play it by the ear. It is for the first time we will be using it (the appeals) in the series. We are going to have a chat about it once we reach Sri Lanka with the officials. We will see how it goes.

“From whatever I gather, it is the captain who takes the call. It all depends on what kind of a situation you are in. If it is an LBW decision, then it depends on what the wicket-keeper or the bowler feels, because the captain might not be in a position to judge whether it was close or whether it is worth having a go. It all depends on what happens on the field. It is difficult to say right now whether I am going to take the call or say that we will appoint one player to take the call on an issue,” he said.

With regard to the fitness of the players, both Kumble and Kirsten asserted that the team had undergone sufficient training recently.

Kumble said: “We just followed our plans to spend a day in Chennai before we leave for Sri Lanka. Players have all had a camp in Bangalore for about a week. We have had eight days of training before going into the Test match. By the time the Test match starts, I am sure the team will be well prepared.”

Corroborating Kumble’s views, Kirsten said: “Everyone is fine. That is important. There seems to be lot of talk about our not practising much. But the team practises according to the demands. There is a fine balance between the players resting and practising. As Anil says, we had eight days of preparation before we take to the Test match. This is ample time for an important series.”

Taking an overview of the team’s bowling that is often said to be India’s Achilles Heel, Kirsten said: “I think we’ve got four or five talented seam bowlers on this Sri Lankan tour. Zaheer is a very experienced bowler and bowls well in sub-continent conditions. Ishant Sharma and others are in form. I am very happy with what we have for the tour. We have the choice of quality attack around for our matches.”

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