A month to go before the Indians land in Australia for a Test series, skipper Ricky Ponting has fired the opening salvo, saying Anil Kumble will find it very hard to cope with the pressure of captaincy Down Under.
"Kumble will be under pressure coming to Australia," Ponting was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press' after the 2-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka at Hobart.
"Anyone who captains the Indian cricket team is always under a lot of pressure. A lot of very, very good players in the past haven't been able to cope with that. (Sachin) Tendulkar probably didn't ever really want to do it, I don't think,"
Rahul Dravid did it for a short period of time. When he resigned he said he just wasn't enjoying the role. There's no doubt that he (Kumble) will be under some sort of pressure. But they are only under pressure if we play well enough. That's the thing," he added.
Australia will play a four-Test series against India starting December 26 and although Kumble has only been appointed for the series against Pakistan, Ponting seems to have presumed that the veteran leg-spinnerwill be given the reins for the tour Down Under as well.
"Ifwe play well and start the series well ... generally we can put the captain under pressure," Ponting said.
Ponting,however, expected a tough challenge from the Indians.
"I think India are probably a slightly stronger side than Sri Lanka and last time they were in Australia, they played very well and we were a very good team at that time," Ponting said, referring to the 1-1 drawn series in 2003-04.
They'vecome off a very good away series win against England so they'll have a little bit of confidence about them and I'm sure they'll bring that to Australia," he noted.
The 33-year-old is just a couple of wins away from equalling Steve Waugh's world record of leading the team to 16consecutive Test wins.
"It's up to us to start the Melbourne Test (on December 26-30) the same way we started the Brisbane Test (against Sri Lanka)and hopefully we can get on top of them early and stay there for the rest of the summer," he said.
However,Ponting said it would not be easy against batsmen like Dravid and Tendulkar.
"Dravid, Ganguly, (VVS)Laxman and Tendulkar are all very good players and they have all done well against Australia in the past. We know how dangerous they can be," he added.