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'Kumble would be tough nut to crack'

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2007 17:32 IST

PTI
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Beneath his placid exterior, Anil Kumble is a fiercely competitive cricketer and Australia's tried and tested formula to target the visiting captain before crushing the rivals might fail this time, believe John Wright and John Buchanan.

Both Wright, a former India coach, and Buchanan, who guided Ricky Ponting's men till the other day, were of the view that India's captaincy reins were in firm hands and the hosts would find Kumble a tough nut to crack during the four-match Test series.

"I think he's a good choice as skipper," said Wright, who coached India from 2000-2005 with distinction.

"He's fiercely determined ... I wouldn't like to fight him, put it that way," the former Kiwi captain was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press.

Wright said Kumble, a veteran of 121 Tests, had the experience and the tactical acumen to play positively against the redoubtable hosts.

"He doesn't back down and I like his attitude because he looks to attack with the way he captains.

"The one game he did with me (a one-day win over England in 2002), I was very impressed with his outlook, which was very positive," Wright reminisced.
Australia have always targeted visiting captains like Jimmy Adams, Nasser Hussain, Graeme Smith and Andrew Flintoff and the ploy worked well in the past.

Like Wright, Buchanan also felt that the strategy might not work against a hard-boiled customer like Kumble.

Kumble also came in for rich praise from the former Australia coach, who said the seasoned leggie could think on his feet.

"He's their best choice, no doubt about that. He's a very humble sort of person, but he's a man who's quite determined.

"He presents as the right captain of this side, I think he has the respect of the older group - Ganguly, Tendulkar and Dravid - but the younger players also think he's the right person at the helm," Buchanan said.

"He will find it a testing time of his captaincy capabilities but my view is he's a pretty astute sort of person, a resilient guy and pretty impervious to outside distractions," he added.

Wright, meanwhile, offered an advice to the Indian side -- avoid trying to match Australia's on-field aggression and fall into the trap.

"It's about what you do and not what you say," he said.

"(In October) they probably played into Australia's hands and if you do say anything, you've got to back it up with performances," Buchanan said.