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'Our country lacks sporting culture'

Veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble is miffed with the fickle-minded fans for their violent outburst against Team India's World Cup debacle.

cricket Updated: Apr 02, 2007, 21:45 IST

Miffed with fickle-minded fans for their violent outburst against Team India's World Cup debacle, veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble said that the country lacked the sporting culture needed to understand the hard work put in by his teammates for the showpiece event.

"We can understand their anger but as players we are more disappointed and this is the time we need their support. The fact is we don't have a sporting culture and that's why we don't understand the sacrifices that a sportsperson makes," Kumble said.

"When you are successful, you are adored and taken for granted but the moment you fail the fans lose faith in you. For instance in Australia, New Zealand and England, fans treat their home and away victories alike but here if we win at home the critics say it's only a home victory," he added.

Kumble felt calls for Rahul Dravid's sacking as skipper besides the demands to throw out certain players in the team were more emotional than rational as such moves would do no good to the future of Indian cricket.

"I don't think it (sacking Dravid) will be the right way to go ahead. The captain and coach have to take a share of responsibility for what has happened but it is a team game," Kumble said in an interview to a private news channel.

The veteran leg-spinner, however, admitted that one or two individuals might be made to pay for the debacle.

"I think there would be someone who would definitely pay for this. But that should not happen," he said.

"The criticism is not fair. Just because we do endorsements does not mean that we are not concentrating on cricket. We fully realise that only playing well will get us all this," he said.

"You can't ban endorsements because then you won't get sponsors for the game. If you don't allow corporates to come there wouldn't be any financial support for Boards," he added.

Refusing to lay the blame for India's poor show on any individual, Kumble said critics have gone overboard in running down the team.

"It was a failure I admit. We have been let down by a whole lot of factors but people must realise that we worked very hard. It's a sport and sometimes even those who have played at this level fail to understand this while criticising," he said.

"Virender Sehwag for instance, look at his track record before criticising him. Its not fair on the guy," he added.

Rejecting reports of a rift within the team, Kumble said such rumours did not surprise him anymore as he had become used to them whenever the team performed badly.

Speaking about the future of Indian cricket in the aftermath of the World Cup failure, Kumble said domestic cricket will have to improve if India are to do well at the international stage.

"We need to reduce the number of teams in our doemstic competitions. Look at the format in Australia, there they have only seven or eight teams playing at the first class level and the competition is brutal," Kumble said.

"Even here we have the five-team Duleep Trophy but I think the number has to be reduced in other tournaments to make them more competitive," he added.

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