India can make a comeback: Kirsten
Kirsten has joined the Indian team as consultant and said the players will have to "believe" that they can still fight back.Updated: Jan 13, 2008 15:21 IST
India's coach-in-waiting Gary Kirsten on Sunday praised skipper Anil Kumble for leading by example in the ongoing series against Australia and said he would try to help the players focus on cricket after a tumultuous week in the aftermath of the Sydney Test.
The former South African batsman has joined the Indian team as consultant and said the players will have to "believe" that they can still fight back, win the two Tests and level the series.
"I have tremendous respect for Kumble's captaincy and he has certainly led by example, taking plenty of wickets.
He said Kumble's resilient batting to save the Test will have a positive influence on the whole team.
"Equally his performance in the last hour-and-a-half in Sydney was testament to his character as a person, where you could see he was desperate to save that game. I am sure he would have an influence on other players in the team," Kirsten was quoted as saying in Cricinfo website.
"The important thing for me is to focus the Indian players back on cricket. I would certainly want the Indian players to play their brand of cricket on Australian soil. I don't want them to play any other brand; they must play to their strengths. I am sure they are already doing that."
Kirsten, who will formally take over the coaching reins on March 1, said India wanted to level the series in Sydney and were disappointed on losing the Test after dominating the game at various stages.
"The Indians are naturally disappointed with the last game. There's no doubt that they came over here to win a Test series. They can't anymore. That's why they felt that at the SCG they were back in the series after being outplayed in Melbourne.
"And they felt they were right in the Sydney Test and naturally the emotions started to run high when things didn't go their way," he said.
Though praising the batsmen for piling up a huge score in the first innings, Kirsten said the failure to survive for just two sessions on the last day will have to be looked into.
"They played well and they played like anyone knows that they can play," he said.
"When you get to the last day of a Test match and Australia are still batting you always have to be aware of these guys, that they are capable of doing something and knocking teams over very quickly. It was disappointing to see India get bowled out in effectively two sessions and I am sure the players would have been hit hard.
Kirsten said India will have to go into the Perth Test with the belief that they can still draw the series.
"They have to start thinking very seriously about how they can win the next two Tests. The only message I'm going to pass on is: 'You must believe you can win the next two'. It would be crazy to try and just exist in the next two Test matches.
"It's a cricket tour full of emotion but one needs to calm oneself and create some composure; that's the only way you can be at your best. I'm a looking at it from a distance so I was trying to look at it very objectively as to what went right and what went wrong," the South African said.