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'Hope to continue doing well in SA'

Making a comeback into the limited-overs squad after playing his last ODI Kumble hopes to put India back on track, reports G Krishnan.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2006 12:02 IST
G Krishnan

Anil Kumble's 264-match experience will come in handy in the One-dayers in South Africa. Making a comeback into the limited-overs squad after playing his last One-day International (ODI) on September 17 last year (for Asia XI against Africa XI in the Afro-Asian Cup in South Africa), the 36-year-old leg-spinner from Karnataka hopes to put India back on track.

"It was a bit disappointing to miss an important tournament as the Champions Trophy," Kumble told the Hindustan Times from Bangalore on Monday. "But it is good to be back in the One-day side."

With the Indian bowlers receiving flak for their dismal show in the Champions Trophy, Kumble will have a greater role in that department. "The responsibility is always there. It is important to contribute to the team's success. Hopefully things will turn around in South Africa. India is a very good side and it is only a matter of gaining a bit of confidence."

Kumble has an impressive record in South Africa. His economy rate is only 3.83 from 26 matches and he has 28 victims. "The wickets per se in One-day cricket favour batsmen," he said. "There are only odd instances where wickets will suit the bowlers. South Africans are tough in their home conditions. But I have done well there before. Hopefully, I will be able to continue doing that."

Kumble, not in India's One-day scheme of things since the IndianOil Cup in Sri Lanka in August 2005, agreed that the present team was going through tough times. But he thought the way it is criticised is unfair.

"Criticism is fine if it's constructive," he said. "What I observed being away from the One-day team is that people took things for granted when India won but criticised strongly when the team lost. That is not the right way.

"Even in the West Indies early this year, India won the first ODI and the next two were close games. Had the result gone our way, things would have been different today. It is a matter of gaining confidence.

"Before the 2003 World Cup, India had an ordinary tour of New Zealand and the warm-up matches against local teams in South Africa did not go well for India. But we gathered momentum and tried to win the Cup."

Kumble will feature in ODIs with Power Plays (PP) for the first time. Recently, New Zealand's leading spinner Daniel Vettori said that PPs were bad for spinners. Kumble termed them as an additional five overs with field restrictions from the time he last played.

"Spinners have always been under pressure," he said. "It is an extra five overs to what I was used to bowling before. I have bowled under pressure throughout my career, not just in the first 15 overs but also in the death. It is a matter of getting used to PPs."

First Published: Oct 31, 2006 01:11 IST