No issues with Ganguly, Kumble: Lee

Media back home may have dubbed Sourav Ganguly a 'serial offender' but Aussie speedster Brett Lee insists his teammates have no issues with them.

updated: October 18, 2008 17:19 IST
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Media back home may have dubbed Sourav Ganguly a 'serial offender' but Australian speedster Brett Lee insists his teammates have no issues with the abrasive left-hander and said they have not lost their respect for Anil Kumble either despite the India captain's mundane show in the Bangalore Test.

Though no more at the helm of Indian team, Ganguly continues to rub the Australians wrong way and the Aussie media dubbed him a "serial offender", accusing him of indulging into delaying tactics in the Bangalore Test to ensure that India walked away with a morale-boosting draw in the series opener.

Lee, however, didn't find anything grossly wrong with Ganguly.

"See, he has got a role to play in the side. I mean he plays his game and obviously has a job to do. We play the game our way. We play a Test match to win it. But of course there was lot of doubt about the light thing (in Bangalore)..." Lee said.

Lee also made it clear that despite Kumble's lacklustre show in the Bangalore Test, the Indian captain remained a great bowler in the eyes of the Australian batsmen.

"Look, he has got 600 Test wickets. We respect him both as a captain and also as a class bowler. He is a great bowler, who has been around for long and we will treat him just the way we would treat a great bowler," Lee said.

Despite leading the side to the draw, Kumble was flayed for his lacklustre bowling and unimaginative captaincy in the Bangalore Test.

The Indian skipper was so hurt by the comments about his lack of fitness and demand for his retirement that he hit back, rather uncharacteristically, at his critics and vowed to make a mark soon in the series.

The Bangalore Test also witnessed occasional sparks fly around and both India pacer Zaheer Khan and Aussie wicket-keeper Brad Haddin were fortunate to escape a reprimand after their on-field brawl there.

Lee, however, believes not a single player from the either side overstepped the line in the first Test.

"I think the first Test was definitely played in the right spirit. There was lot of passion and controlled aggression. A few words were exchanged indeed but that was well within the right spirit. You cannot take away the passion, after all we are not playing tiddlywinks," Lee argued.

"We'll play the game fairly and squarely," he added. Oozing charm and welcoming the media with the 'Sat Sri Akaal' greeting, Lee, who donned the Kings XI Punjab colours in the Indian Premier League, said the second Test would be quite a home match for him.

"It's going to be a home game for me. It's a great place and hopefully the wicket will have enough carry, especially because this is traditionally a bouncy track. In Bangalore, it was pretty low and slow. The pitch here looks pretty hard and hopefully there will be enough carry for the young pacers," Lee added.

He said it was disappointing not to win the first Test but felt the team should be happy with their game in Bangalore.

"I mean it was really disappointing not to win there, for we came out to win the match. But in hindsight, we can be happy with the way we played and created chances.

"Personally, I'm really happy with the way I bowled. I mean you look at the scoreboard and you don't see too many wickets (against my name) but I'm happy that I created chances. I would be pretty confident going into this Test," Lee said.

Almost inevitably, Lee was asked to comment on Sachin Tendulkar overtaking Brian Lara as the highest run scorer in Test in the Mohali match and the Australian said he was looking forward to bowling to the master blaster.

"It would be nice if he does not get those 15 run in this series. But he is a world class player and deserves the honour...I love the challenge of bowling to the Little Master," Lee said.