India vs Australia: Hosts will treat Steve Smith and Co as 'any other team', says coach Anil Kumble

Pune: India coach Anil Kumble is aware that Australia will come hard at his team, but said the hosts will not attach any special significance to this series and would treat Steve Smith and Co like any other side.

Australia had lost 0-4 during their previous tour to India in 2013 and Kumble said his team would have plans to counter the visiting side when the first Test begins in Pune on Thursday.

File photo of India coach Anil Kumble. AFP

File photo of India coach Anil Kumble. AFP

"We respect every opposition. We spoke about this even before the season started with New Zealand. England was tougher. We all know the Australian team. They are really professional, but I would like to treat them as any other team," Kumble said.

"I don't think we need to attach any other significance to this series other than what we need to do to tick all those boxes we have been doing over last six to eight months.

"They are a good side, have some good batters and bowlers. The approach they tend to take is to be aggressive. We are aware of it and we will put together strategies in place to counter that," he added.

The former leg-spinner said his team is capable of adapting to different challenges and focusing on things which they can control rather than worrying over the nature of pitch ahead of the first Test.

"One thing we've constantly spoken about and tried to be aware of is what is in our control. The least that we discuss is about the pitch, about the toss. We keep countering these types of questions at the start of the series or match, saying how is the pitch and what do you think about the toss," said Kumble.

The former leg-spinner pointed out how India had come out of difficult situations a number of times since the start of the home season against New Zealand in October last year.

"If you look back at the nine Tests that we've played at home, each one has its own challenges. We've played on some new venues, first Test match. We've played at venues where Test cricket hasn't been played before. So in that sense this team is capable of adjusting and adapting to whatever challenges come up. Really satisfied with the way things have gone," Kumble said.

"On the last day of the Test match in Chennai, I don't think many gave India a chance to win the Test, let alone after England scored almost 500 runs in the first innings. Even in Mumbai it was a similar case, where we lost the toss and they put 400 runs and we won by an innings. That's the beauty about this team.

"Even in Kolkata where we played New Zealand, it was in very different conditions where the seamers came into the picture. We had answers to all those questions. That's what you want from a champion team and that's exactly what we're trying to build towards and not really worry about the pitch or conditions," said India's highest Test wicket-taker.

Virat Kohli's men is currently sharing the record of undefeated run of 19 Tests with the Kapil Dev-led side in the mid-1980s.

To a question regarding the record, Kumble said his team is just focusing on doing well in the first session for now and not thinking about any impending landmarks.

"Yes those things are there but we don't want to look too far ahead, would like to take this Test match, focusing on this Test and then Bengaluru and the others. We would like to start off on a good note here," he said.

"We take one game at a time, right at start of New Zealand series we looked at the entire season. It's important to start every Test with the first session, that's how we look at things we want to start on a good note.

"If you look at our playing eleven it has not been the same (in every game) and that is the beauty of this team. Whoever has come into the side has contributed and those who have not made it to the playing eleven have also contributed.

"We want to go one game at a time, here also we are looking at the first session. Even this Test match against Australia would be about looking at the first session and not at these kinds of landmarks."

Kumble said the team had recognised the key moments in the games gone by and done well because of the experience.

"To recognise the key moments, you need experience and we have it. We have won the key moments in the past few Tests. The team knows which are the key moments; the role of captain (Kolhi) is important and he has led from the front," he said.

"Yes all those matches we have played and all those situations we had been in, top order and lower order contributions have been good, bowling not only spinners also the faster bowlers stood up in key moments that's what has stood us up in good stead. There will be tough moments in the series but the squad will come up with ideas on field.

"We are happy at this juncture leading up to this series. All players in the squad have had good run-ins with bat or ball and overall, I am really happy with the way at this juncture leading up to the Test series," he added.

Kumble did not want to compare the current lot of visiting team's spinners with former ones like the great Shane Warne.

"Something I don't really want to comment on. You had some great spinners from the past coming from Australia like (Shane) Warne but to compare is a tough ask. We respect the opposition. We would like to prepare as to whichever combination they put on the field."


Published Date: Feb 21, 2017 09:42 pm | Updated Date: Feb 21, 2017 09:48 pm