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Oz tour: 'Now we can do it'

Kumble says his team will bank on the middle-order’s collective strength to do what no team in recent history has done Down Under, reports K Kumaraswamy.

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2007 13:38 IST
K Kumaraswamy

Doing an encore is always a hard act. But captain Anil Kumble believes that the Indian team can match its performance on the previous visit to Australia when they go Down Under for a four Test series. In fact, the skipper sees no reason why India can’t beat the world champions and clinch a rare series own in Australia.

“That’s the aim. I believe we have the potential to do the job. Last time we came close to winning the series, and we are confident we can do it this time,” Kumble said on Sunday, on the eve of the team’s departure.

The Indian team faces a few hiccups as it readies for the tour of Australia.Injuries have kept a few key personnel out of the series. Replacements are either raw or not in the best of form.

And once Down Under, the team has just one warm up match to assess the conditions before taking on the world champions. But Kumble preferred to be positive.

On the team having little time to getting adjusted to the conditions there, Kumble said, “If we look at the quality we have in the team, we have the experience to do those adjustments. At the international level, it is now a prerequisite. I think the potential we have will help.

“In team discussions, we tell the players that the one factor we take out of our gameplans is the conditions, the pitch and the weather,” he added.

Kumble felt Virender Sehwag, who has not been among runs, should have his confidence up merely from the fact that he has been recalled.

“We have shown the confidence in him. He is a quality player, but we will make a decision after assessing the team combination and conditions once we reach there,” he said.

So, it has not been decided yet as to who will open the batting with Wasim Jaffer, Sehwag or Rahul Dravid. “We still haven’t thought about any combination,” Kumble emphasised.

The Bangalorean had similar thoughts about Ishant Sharma and Pankaj Singh, the two inexperienced seamers coming in for Sreesanth and Munaf Patel.

“Ideally, yes, it is a short setback. The quality of those two (Sreesanth and Patel) will be missed. But then, it is an opportunity for Ishant and Pankaj,” he said.

“We have the experience of Zaheer and RP (Singh), and Irfan (Pathan) has played in Australia. Ishant is very promising, if the way he bowled in Bangalore is any indication.”

“And Pankaj is an exciting prospect. He is tall and hits deck. There is no better place than Australia to perform for him.”

Kumble would not like his team to be distracted by the talk about the Australians being without Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

“Australia have always been a tough opposition. In terms of quality, this team is no different from any other they have had before.

“Our strength is our middle-order which has 30,000 runs among them. We have to ensure we don’t worry about the opposition and get the job done.” He had words of sympathy for Murali Kartik.

“At this point of time, I think we have chosen the two best spinners we have,” Kumble said. “It is tough on Kartik but the dynamics, the pitches we might encounter there, have not made it possible to have him. Harbhajan has done exceptionally well, we can not have missed him.”