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Cricketers fly off in bid to create history

Skipper Anil Kumble and his teammates depart hoping to create history by becoming the first Indian team to beat Australia in Australia.

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2007 13:57 IST

Skipper Anil Kumble and his teammates today left for Australia bidding to create history by becoming the first Indian team to conquer the Aussies in their own backyard.

Kumble and his men left by a morning flight to Singapore en-route to Melbourne, firm in their belief that they had the wherewithal to bring to the knees the mighty Australians on high-bouncing pitches against fiery speedsters.

"It's a tough challenge to play Australia in Australia but we are ready for the challenge. We have the potential and players to win the series in Australia," Kumble said here about the high-profile contest against Ricky Ponting's men.

"We had a very good series against Pakistan. We won the one-day as well as the Test series which is a confidence booster for doing well in Australia," proclaimed Kumble who will give way to one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and return home at the end of the four-Test rubber.

"We have quality in the side. We have enough experience of Australian conditions to adjust to them which is a pre-requisite of international cricket. The potential in the side and the players' experience will help," he said, putting the onus on the array of quality batsmen in the team to set up the victory.

"We have people in the middle order with over 30,000 runs and I think we will be able to handle whatever comes our way. I have been saying that if we have the runs on the board, our bowlers have the ability to get the wickets," Kumble said.

"For some of the senior players, it's probably their last tour to Australia. It's important we go out there and do well," said Kumble, egging on himself and the Golden Quartet of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman to make another effort to conquer what for India is one of the two final frontiers they are yet to conquer at the Test level.

India have won rubbers in all Test playing countries barring Australia and South Africa although they have come agonizingly close to doing so in the first decade of the new millennium.

Kumble and the rest of the players, especially the Fabulous Four, know from past experience how important it is to adjust to the conditions in Australia, far different from the slow and low pitches in the Indian sub-continent.

A major handicap for the Indians is absence of enough pre-series warm-up games. They are to play only one game, against Victoria XI at Melbourne's Junction Oval prior to taking on Australia in the traditional Boxing Day (December 26) Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

That will be followed by matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground (Jan 2-6, 2008), Perth's WACA ground (Jan 16-20), after a second warm-up tie at Canberra, and Adelaide Oval (Jan 24-28).