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Kumble fit for Kotla Test

India skipper Anil Kumble today declared himself fit for the third Test against Australia but said a decision on Harbhajan Singh, nursing a toe injury, would be taken only tomorrow.

cricket Updated: Oct 28, 2008 14:22 IST

India skipper Anil Kumble on Tuesday declared himself fit for the third Test against Australia but said a decision on Harbhajan Singh, nursing a toe injury, would be taken only on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters after India's net session at the Ferozeshah Kotla, Kumble said the shoulder injury that kept him out of the Mohali Test had healed and he was back in the mix, all set to play what could be his last Test at Kotla.

"I'm 100 per cent fit. We'll just announce the XII today -- it's the same 11 as the last game and I come in," said the Indian captain.

The cloud of doubt, however, still hovers over Harbhajan, who bowled a couple of overs in the nets before deciding to rest.

"He's still not sure (for the match). We just want to wait and see and depending on his fitness, we'll take a final call tomorrow," Kumble said.

In case Harbhajan fails to recover in time, India might retain in-form Amit Mishra even though Kumble sounded optimistic of the off-spinner's prospect of playing the third Test.

"It's a question of keeping the balance and obviously Harbhajan is a key member of the side and we are hoping he would be fit by tomorrow morning," Kumble said.

Though Harbhajan remained out of action for major part of today's net session, Kumble didn't read too much into it.

"It's not the number of balls he bowls in the net which indicates whether he is fit or not."

"People try to assess somebody's fitness based on whether he bowls in the nets or not. The amount of cricket we play, it's not important to bowl in the net to say he is okay," Kumble said.

"He still has a little bit of discomfort and at the end of the day, we still have some more time and as I mentioned he is a key member of our success and we would like to assess and give him the maximum time to take the call," Kumble said.

Itching to go out and roll his arms at the same ground where he grabbed all 10 wickets in Pakistan's second innings in the 1999 Test, Kumble said, "As a team we have some fantastic memories of Kotla and as individual also, I have some personal landmarks which I can never forget. That's why the team is looking forward to and I am too looking forward to this Test match."

Kumble was unfazed by the criticism of his poor form in the Bangalore Test and said he continues to enjoy the confidence of his teammates.

"People have opinions and I respect that. But if you start thinking about all that and play according to people's opinion, you are never going to go anywhere. I have full faith in myself and the team has confidence in me."

Delhi duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have been crucial to India's success in the series so far and the Indian skipper expected the openers to continue the good work at their home turf.

First Published: Oct 28, 2008 14:20 IST