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It's all in the mind, says Kumble

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2008 12:09 IST
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Shifting his focus back to cricket after a controversy-marred week, Indian skipper Anil Kumble on Thursday put up a bold face by saying his team had the "quality and experience" to counter the dreaded WACA pitch in the third Test against Australia.

Of the current touring team, only Sachin Tendulkar has played at the pace paradise, which is once again promising to be a screamer for the faster bowlers. The Indian susceptibility to pace would be tested hard but Kumble called on his batsmen to stand up to the challenge.

"Sure there is bounce and pace for the bowlers but we have the quality and experience. It does take some time to get used to this sort of pitch but it's more mental than in the middle," stressed the Indian captain in the pre-match press conference in Perth. "It's important we make a good beginning in the first innings. It's about getting the runs, we have the quality and it's important we come back and keep the series alive by getting the (remaining) two Tests under the belt," he added.

Indians have three batsmen who have played in excess of 100 Tests and Kumble believed it would count in this Test, which is a do-or-die affair for the visitors, who currently trail the Australians 0-2 in the four-match series. "If we can put runs on the board, I am confident we would be able to do it," he said.

The Indian team has sought to meet the challenge by shuffling it's batting order even though just two changes are in offing. An out of form Yuvraj Singh would be replaced by Virender Sehwag while Harbhajan Singh is likely to give way to Irfan Pathan for his all-round ability. "Sehwag would come in. It would be a regular batting order, the quality of Rahul (Dravid) at number three again," Kumble said. "It would mean shifting the batting order a bit but that's been for a long time," he added.

Kumble, in other words, implied that VVS Laxman, despite making a splendid hundred in the Sydney Test, would once again be shunted down to number six in the order. It is perhaps required also as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in the first two Tests, had little clue against the Australians quicks.

Kumble also made a mention of Gary Kirsten, the coach-designate of the Indian team, and the tips the South African opener has been passing to the team.
"He was a great opening batsman, has played here before and has been useful in passing on his tips. It's good to have him around."

Kumble allayed any fears on Sourav Ganguly, who was suffering from high fever but came in for practice on Thursday. Along with the batsmen, the bowlers too have trouble in bowling against the wind at WACA.