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Tough series ahead, says Kumble

However, the Indian skipper says his side could win the series against SA as they have the home advantage and the experience. Team India in Chennai | PicsSA arrive in India | Pics

cricket Updated: Mar 23, 2008 12:23 IST

Test captain Anil Kumble thinks the forthcoming three-match series against the visiting South Africans would be a challenging one as the Proteas are a tough unit to beat.

"When they came to India last time for the two-Test series, it was tough to beat them. After drawing the Kanpur Test, we won at Kolkata through Harbhajan Singh's excellent performance (7/87) with the ball," he told a press conference after arriving in Chennai for the first Test starting on March 26.

However, he said the team with the home advantage and experience could win the series. "It is going to be a tough challenge this time around. They have great players in their rank. This time of the year is going to be hot. We have the experience and also quality. I am sure, we will be able to win the series," he said.

Saying that the Proteas had always done well against India, he said "We have had a good series in Australia. South Africa have done well against Pakistan and Bangladesh. We have the advantage of playing at home. We have a fantastic record at home. We will be able to well in this series too."

Kumble, who will be felicited by the BCCI during the match for taking 600 Test wickets, said he was looking forward to the first match.

"I have always done well here. It is really a good cricketing wicket. Chepauk has a record in producing good Test match results for us. We have had some fantastic Test matches played here. I am sure the coming one will be good and good cricket is in store for the knowledgeable fans here."

About heavy rains lashing the city for the past two days, Kumble said, "It is not in our control. We only hope we will have to play on all five days so that we can provide interesting cricket."

On sledging, Kumble echoed the views of his South African counterpart Graeme Smith, saying he would prefer to focus on cricket. "As for sledging we have no issues. The lines are demarcated clearly. We want people to remember the cricket we want to play. We had a tough series in Asutralia and we have really gelled as a team. Likewise, we are looking forward to the challenge ahead and ensure that we play good cricket."

On whether he would opt for regular openers or promote Rahul Dravid, Kumble said, "Dravid will bat at No 3".