WACA pitch more mental than in the middle - Kumble
Ever since he took over as captain, Anil Kumble has insisted on 'taking the pitch and conditions out of the equation' and urged his side not to get too worked up about the WACA pitch too. Of the current batch only Sachin Tendulkar has played a Test on this ground but Kumble hoped the rest would draw on their experience to counter the challenge.
"Sure there is bounce and pace for the bowlers but we have the quality and experience," he said. "It does take some time to get used to this sort of pitch but it's more mental than in the middle. It's important we make a good beginning in the first innings. It's about getting the runs, we have the quality and it's important we come back and keep the series alive by getting the (remaining) two Tests under the belt."
Three of India's batsmen have more than 100 Tests under their belt, with VVS Laxman likely to reach the milestone soon, and Kumble thought they had the ability to adjust to a variety of conditions. "It's about getting into a right mindset and we have done that," he said. The team has decided to swap its batting line-up around, with Virender Sehwag likely to open and VVS Laxman back to No.6. "Sehwag would come in. It would be a regular batting order, the quality of Rahul Dravid at number three again. It would mean shifting the batting order a bit but that's been for a long time."
Gary Kirsten, the coach-in-waiting, spent a couple of days with the batsmen and Kumble felt he had passed on some valuable advice. "He was a great opening batsman, has played here before and has been useful in passing on his tips. It's good to have him around." There was a doubt hanging over Sourav Ganguly, who was down with high fever, but Kumble was confident that he would be fine. "He is at practice today and he should be fine."
It's not just the batsmen, but bowlers too who would need to adjust to the windy conditions. "It's a unique situation here and it appears for the moment that I would be mostly bowling against the winds," Kumble said. "But I believe the first two days are hot and not much breeze around. Still, it is up to the bowlers to lift their game."
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo