Mohali, Oct 16 (UNI) An air of uncertainty has gripped the Indian camp on the eve of the crucial second Test against Australia with injured skipper Anil Kumble announcing that he would only decide before the start of the match tomorrow morning whether he is in a position to play or not.
''I still have to see how I go and then take a call,'' he told mediapersons here, after his team went through nets indoors, adding,''we still haven't decided any combination at all.'' In case Kumble opts out, pacer Munaf Patel stands a good chance of replacing him.
''It all depends on how the pitch looks in the morning,'' the Indian skipper said. ''From what we saw yesterday, it was pretty dry although there has been a lot of rain about. But I don't think we can decide now. We would like to have a look at it again in the morning and then take a final call.'' He stoutly defended what he wrote in a column, in which he had uncharacteristically lashed out at critics suggesting that he ought to call it a day, saying,''I don't know what is unlike Anil Kumble.
I can only be myself. It is an opportunity for a player, as the captain of the team, to express his views because we don't get many opportunities to do that.'' He further elobrated,''it was not just my view but collectively of the team as well. Whatever I have said, they have backed me in that. I don't think it was unlike Anil Kumble. It is just being me and myself. I think I have expressed what I felt." The skipper threw his weight behind this players by lavishing praise on them for their good showing in the first Test. ''There were a lot of positives for us. The way we restricted Australia to 400 on a good pitch. The way Zaheer and Ishant bowled, and I thought even the spinners controlled the game pretty well in the first innings, although we didn't get wickets.'' He further added,''All the batters got a bit of a hit. They didn't get big scores because the conditions were such but I thought everybody contributed, and especially the lower order. The way Zaheer and Harbhajan contributed with the bat is something we will take into account moving into this Test match.'' Asked about the track here, the ace spinner said,''this looks like a very good batting surface. Every time that we have played here, we have put up a big score. This is a good opportunity for the batters to get some big runs. We are really looking forward to that.
Every batsman looked good in the middle in the last game.'' About Sachin Tendulkar's impending world record of most Test runs, Kumble said,''Sachin is such a great player. We all want him to get there as soon as possible and I am sure he will get it here. That will be something very special, not just for Sachin but for world cricket and for Indian cricket.'' He went on saying,''to have an Indian up there, right on top, will be a great honour for all of us. To have shared the dressing room and probably seen every run sitting inside the dressing room and sometimes out there on the other side is a fantastic feeling.
I am sure it will happen soon, there are a lot of people waiting for that, I hope he goes on and gets a big score.'' Kumble was of the view that the Australians,''are obviously missing the quality of a Shane Warne and a Stuart MacGill. On Indian wickets, you definitely need a spinner to come into play, if not in the first innings then certainly in the second innings.
That's certainly something we will look to cash in on.
''Having said that, to win a match, we need to get big scores from the batters and every bowler has to contribute. I am really happy with the way our bowling unit is shaping up and I am confident that our batters will also come to the party.'' About playing here Kumble said,''I have certainly enjoyed bowling here. I have a few landmarks here as well. Hoepfully my shoulder will be ok to get there.'' ''We have done exceptionally well as a team here. We have had two victories against England in the recent past. Lot of confidence going into the Test match. And also wih the way we played in Bangalore, we would like to take that confidence forward. Really looking forward to going 1-0 up here. The team is pretty upbeat,'' he added.
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