Ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble says the forthcoming three-Test series against Pakistan is going to be tough in spite of the absence of the visitors' former captain Inzamam-ul Haq, who recently retired from the game.
"Inzamam is a great player. He's a quality player. It's definitely a bonus for us to not bowl at someone like Inzy. But Pakistan have a formidable batting line up with fantastic batsmen in Mohd Yousuf, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik," said Kumble, who has grabbed 63 wickets in 12 Tests against Pakistan including 39 in six at home.
Kumble also said that getting a good start was important for India to set the momemtum in their favour.
"It's going to be an important and tough series. The last time they came here (2004-05) they drew the series. It's important for us to start well in the first Test at Delhi," said India's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday.
The 37-year-old Bangalore stalwart, leading his state team Karnataka for their season-opening Ranji Trophy clash against defending champions Mumbai from November 3, hoped that the Ferozshah Kotla ground will continue to be a happy hunting place for him.
"Delhi has been a good ground for me and hopefully I will be able to do what I have done at the Kotla. I hope it will be a god start for me and the team," said Kumble, who has picked 10-74 against Pakistan in the 1998-99 rubber at the Kotla.