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We might play Bhajji: Kirsten

Though two spinners are unlikely at the WACA, Harbhajan is one of team India's strengths, says India's coach-in-waiting. A report by Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2008 02:36 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
We might play Bhajji: Kirsten

There is a new man in blue in the Indian contingent. Coach-in-waiting Gary Kirsten joined the squad on Monday and the former South Africa opener was at work straightaway, facing a battery of reporters before the team's practice at the WACA ground. Excerpts from the interaction:

On joining the team when it's 0-2 down

The last couple of months have been whirlwind but I look at it as a massive honour to be given the opportunity to work with this team. There are some tremendous players and a lot of experience. To be involved with a country like India where there is passion, is something I'm excited about.

On his role now

I've not joined as coach but am here as consultant. The plan is to be here for three weeks for the last two Tests and then help the guys prepare for the ODIs. Maybe, I'll come back in the second half of the ODI series.

On Dravid as opener

We've got options in that department. At a very informal level, I guess we'll have more discussions on what to look at. My opinion is a specialist in specialist positions is the way to go. But again, that'll be discussed in the team meeting. Sehwag got a big hundred in the last game and he has earned the respect of the Australians for the way he plays. I guess he'll become a factor and Rahul is certainly suited and more comfortable in the middle order.

On how tough is it to play in Australia

It's a mental battle and when you come to Australia they leave no stone unturned to test your character. One reason why I love Test cricket is that it tests you as a person. You can get back with a certain level of skill, if you have the character.

On pressure of playing at WACA

I've not played a Test here but have featured in ODIs and first-class matches. It's a very tough cricketing environment and it's going to be mentally demanding. But the Australians argue this is the best place to bat on.

When you play a Test here, you go in with a lot of courage and determination. The team wants to get over last week’s controversy and a couple of guys will have to step up to the plate and show that they are ready for this very big battle.

On team selection

I've just arrived, we'll talk about it. Two spinners are unlikely at the WACA but Harbhajan is one of the strengths and we might look to play him. But that's something that we have to sort out.