India coach Anil Kumble hails players for finding way to tackle tight situations | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India coach Anil Kumble hails players for finding way to tackle tight situations

India-Australia Test series have seen sparks fly in the last two decades, but the hosts are trying to stay focused on the job at hand

cricket Updated: Feb 21, 2017 21:26 IST
Bihan Sengupta
India vs Australia
Anil Kumble, India coach, at a practice session in Pune ahead of the first Test against Australia.(PTI)

India coach Anil Kumble sought to play down the hype surrounding the Test series against Australia starting on Thursday, saying the hosts would prepare like they do against any other opposition.

India are on a high after winning their last five Test series starting with the Sri Lanka tour in 2015, while Australia are looking to make a mark with a revamped side in their bid to avoid the 4-0 whitewash they suffered the last time in 2013.

“The Australian team is extremely professional. I don’t think there’s any need to attach any other significance to the series, apart from being able to tick all the boxes as we’ve been doing in all these six to eight months,” Kumble told a media interaction at the MCA Stadium on Tuesday.

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“Overall, they’re a good side. They have some good batters and bowlers and the approach that they tend to take is to be aggressive, and that’s something we’re aware of. We’ll put together strategies that can counter them.”

RUNNING ON AUTO PILOT

Kumble took over ahead of last year’s tour of the West Indies and the team has had a stellar run in Tests under him. He lauded the players for being able to come up with solutions on their own and not necessarily look for inspiration from the past to deal with tough situations.

“I have been privileged to have a chance to work with this young lot for the last ten months. It’s nice to see this squad grow and understand situations and come up with solutions. You want the team to be self-sufficient and not look over their shoulder for advice.”

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Skipper Virat Kohli was among those who skipped Tuesday’s optional practice session. Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja too were not at the training. Among batsmen, only opener Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul and Karun Nair practiced against local net bowlers, besides back-up spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Jayant Yadav. None of the frontline seamers too were around.

Pujara practiced catching at short-leg while Kumble used the side-arm (bowling equipment) to bowl short at Karun Nair.

NEW VENUE NO PROBLEM

Kumble played down Pune being a new Test venue, stating that from the beginning of the home season last year, there have been quite a few such grounds where the team has performed to full potential. Indore (vs New Zealand) and Rajkot and Visakhapatnam (vs England) hosted Tests for the first time.

“This team is capable of adjusting and adapting to whatever challenges come up. We’ve won matches on venues that have hosted a Test for the first time. I’m really satisfied with the way things have gone forward. I don’t think many gave India a chance to win in Chennai after England scored 500-odd runs. Even in Mumbai, it was a similar case where we lost the toss and they scored 400 runs. Despite that, we won by an innings. That’s the beauty about this team.”

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Asked why the team was carrying 16 players for a home series, Kumble said it was safer to pick someone from the squad in case of injuries. “Keeping the team together has been important. We’ve had some injuries just before the game or on the day of the match. Apart from a few players here and there, these will be the players who are going to be a part of Test cricket for India in the long run.”