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India-Pak rivalry beats everything: Kumble

October 07, 2008 16:20 IST

The upcoming Test series against Australia [Images] may be the flavour of the season, but India skipper Anil Kumble [Images] says nothing can supplant the traditional rivalry that India and Pakistan share in terms of passion and commitment.

The leg-spinner said the upcoming series against Australia will bring out the best from the players, "but Indo-Pak, nothing can beat that passion and competitiveness on the field".

"I think every series has its charm and even India-Australia has such charm. But you can't really beat the rivalry that India-Pakistan has," Kumble told the NDTV.

Series against Australia have assumed epic proportions and Kumble traced its roots to the historic 2001 tour.

"...(India-Australia) Not really a rivalry kind of a thing, but I think it all started probably in 2001 in Kolkata, when we won the Test match and the series. Since then India-Australia series has always been something which everybody looks forward to," he said.

Asked how the seniors plan to meet expectations of the people, Kumble replied: "That's the challenge for a sportsman. You are not trying to prove anything to anyone. It's all about your competitiveness, your spirit and your performance is the pride of the country."

India's highest wicket-taker also put a lid on talks surrounding his retirement.

"I am still enjoying the game and enjoying the challenges and it will be great to have a crack at the Australians this time," he said.

"I only take answers from how the body is feeling. I think the body is fairly okay. I take it one series at a time. I don't look too far ahead," Kumble said.

"Probably I am the only cricketer who is still playing cricket after retiring from one-day formats. I'm not shy to say I don't miss playing ODI cricket. I still love the game," he added.

About the Australian squad, which many feel is the weakest to tour the country, Kumble said it is not much different from the one India played Down Under.

"When you look at their squad, it's not really that different from what we played in Australia about a year ago. So, in that sense, it's no different; it's just that conditions will be different.

"Home conditions for us and to some of them it's really new; so, in that sense, they are inexperienced. Probably for us there is a great challenge and the best possible chance for us to go for victory and ensure that we bring back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy," Kumble said.

Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008

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