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Performance is the key: Kumble
Harish Kotian in New Delhi | November 21, 2007 14:45 IST
Anil Kumble's commitment and service to Indian cricket needs no frills and it was only deserving that the veteran spinner was named as the Test captain for the Pakistan series.
Not surprisingly, Kumble will take the spotlight on Thursday when he leads India out for the first Test against Pakistan in New Delhi.
Even though he has always been the top performer, the leggie has never seeked the limelight and always seemed to shy away from it.
His bowling has been the focus of attention but this time the veteran's leadership skills would also come under the scanner.
The 37-year-old, appointed captain of the Test side, would no doubt be keen to once again leave a lasting impression at the Kotla -- his favourite hunting ground.
It was at this very ground that the veteran spinner took all 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999 to become only the second bowler to do so in the history of Test cricket after England's [Images] Jim Laker in 1956.
Kumble has bagged 48 wickets in five Tests at the Kotla and more importantly has never taken fewer than three wickets every time he has turned out to bowl at this venue.
"Delhi has been very nice for me personally and also for team India. I'll be hoping it continues. We'll hope it's the same way and want a good beginning against Pakistan," he said on Wednesday.
Kumble is India's most successful bowler in Tests, having taken 566 wickets in 118 Tests. He believes that no player in the side, whether young or experienced, should take their places for granted.
"Performance is the key," he asserter. "Everyone knows their responsibilities. Nobody takes their place for granted. You have to ensure you are at the top of the game every time.
"If you look at quality of the side, you will see that the players have been consistent over the last 15-18 years, sometimes 12-14 years. So there is good healthy competition and it augurs well for Indian cricket."
Even though he is leading, Kumble believes that his role as a player is still the same and that is to bowl and take wickets.
"Whatever the role I was playing as a player will remain the same. I don't think it will change. No special pressure. When we're on the ground it's still about taking wickets and getting runs."
Kumble also said that he is not too bothered about what the pitch is going to be like and believes his team has the quality to succeed on any surface.
"The pitch is something that I would like to take out of the equation. There is a lot of talk about pitch and wickets in India. I think we have the quality to do well no matter what the pitch is. You do look at a pitch and take certain decisions. It's a good wicket. Hope it remains like that for the entire duration of the game."
The veteran said that he had spoken with ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] and tried to get a hang of things.
"I had a chat with Dhoni because I wanted to find out what was going on in the one-day side over the last three months. And his inputs will certainly matter because going ahead for Indian cricket, it's important we form a core group of young cricketers, who need to take our team forward.
"We're not looking only at this series but my job as a senior cricketer is to ensure that Indian cricket moves ahead."