Highest Test run accumulator's glory beckons Sachin Tendulkar in Sri Lanka but India captain Anil Kumble is not ready to allow it to be a distraction and said a series victory would top the team's agenda in the island nation.
Tendulkar (11782) will reach Sri Lanka needing another 172 runs to topple Brian Lara (11953) and become the highest Test run accumulator. Kumble said it would be a great moment not only for the batsman but also for the entire country,but series win would still be on top of the players' minds.
"We always feel proud that one of our teammates is going to cross a landmark. Every time when there is a sense of achievement, it's not for the individual only but also for the team," Kumble said in Chennai on Monday, on the eve of team's departure for Sri Lanka.
"But, the most important factor is that we go there and ensure a series victory. That will be on top of everybody's mind," Kumble added.
"I am sure that at some point of time, Sachin will cross the landmark. It will be a huge achievement not just for him but also for Indian cricket. Sachin is confident. He has come back fully fit from groin injury. He is really fresh in mind and really confident," said the Test captain.
Though the Indian ODI team recently lost to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final in Karachi, Kumble feels the Test squad has been quite consistent and all he was eyeing was a series victory.
"As a Test team we have really performed well, in that sense, we are pretty confident. In Test cricket, we have done exceptionally well in the last year or so. We have been consistent. I am sure we will be able to put up a good show and ensure a series win," said the veteran leg-spinner.
Ajantha Mendis ran through India's famed batting line-up in the Asia Cup final and though Kumble refused to underestimate the Sri Lankan mystery spinner, he was not unduly worried about him either.
"We need to respect every bowler. We will definitely not take anyone lightly. Importantly, in Test cricket we have a lot more time to get ready and get set.
"Obviously, my interaction with some of our players was that they had some difficulty in picking him. I guess in Test cricket when you have more time, we will certainly be able to ensure that we have the quality," Kumble said.
Asked how important would the presence of seniors Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid be, Kumble said, "We never lost on any of these players on Test cricket scene. We have really done well during the last two or three years. There has been consistency and whenever we have gone abroad, we have got the right results.
"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.
Harbhajan Singh's return to the side would also add tooth to the Indian attack, Kumble reckoned.
"He is an integral part of the team and is 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 in getting wickets and ensure our series victory."
On the referral system which would be introduced in the Test series, Kumble said, "It is for the first time we will be using it 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 a LBW decision, then what is important is what the wicketkeeper or the bowler feels because the captain might not be in a position to say whether it was close or 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."
Happy with the practice for the series, 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 in to the Test match. By the time the Test match starts, I am sure the team will be well prepared."