Kumble will bounce back: Kirsten

Gary Kirsten believes Anil Kumble would overcome his shoulder injury and bounce back with a match-winning performance in the second Test against Australia.

updated: October 18, 2008 17:20 IST
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Unfazed by Anil Kumble's lack of form and fitness, India coach Gary Kirsten believes the veteran leg-spinner would overcome his shoulder injury and bounce back with a match-winning performance in the second Test against Australia here.

Kumble had a pretty ordinary outing in the Bangalore Test where he not only went wicketless but also injured his shoulder which cast a cloud of doubt over his fitness ahead of the second Test starting here on Friday.

Kirsten, however, is certain that Kumble would not only play the Test but also come up with a match-winning performance to prove his mettle.

"We are watching him and at the moment he looks alright. There's a little pain but we hope him to be ready in two days," Kirsten said after India's practice at PCA Stadium here.

"He is a warrior and is very keen to play. I'm almost sure that regardless of what he is physically, he would be ready to represent the country," a confident Kirsten added.

Kirsten didn't read too much into Kumble's lacklustre show in Bangalore and said one odd setback did not diminish Kumble's greatness as a bowler.

"We don't look at one Test, but over a long period of time. Kumble is one of the greatest Indian cricketers ever. A great player struggles (momentarily) before coming back stronger. Kumble has been doing the same for 17 years and I believe he would come up with a match-winning performance here," he said.

Overall, Kirsten was happy with the way India snatched a draw in the first Test and the cohesion in the side also warmed his heart.

"I'm very happy with the way we played the first Test. Everyone got some time in the middle. Most made some contributions to the side, it was not big scores but still some sort of contribution and that too in pressure situations. "Even from my playing days, I have never seen such unity and togetherness in an Indian team. They are eager to win the Test series against Australia.

"We had great preparation and I think the greatest catalyst was the fact that they are playing world number one team. Everyone is talking about team and not individual record. This team firmly believes they can beat Australia," Kirsten added.

Kirsten was also happy with a certain change in the age old tradition of the spinners scripting India's series win at home.

"Now the pacers are doing that, isn't it exciting? I believe they have got skills with which they would succeed on any kind of track, anywhere," he said.

Pacer Zaheer Khan came in for special praise from Kirsten.

"I think what makes him such a force is that he has tremendous belief in himself, which helps any player. He is very intelligent too, knows what needs to be done and when. "Besides, he has got great variations, knows which ball is to be bowled to which batsman. He is a highly talented bowler," Kirsten gushed.

Kirsten said India would have to be careful against Brett Lee and the top six batsmen would have important roles to play.

"No doubt Brett Lee would do whatever he needs to trouble us. He is a tremendous competitor and we are aware of that. "In fact the entire Australian team would come back with a stronger performance here. But we are equally motivated and believe we can beat Australia.

"All top six batsmen would have an important role here," added the South African.