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September 30, 2008
Anil Kumble has backed the Indian middle order to come good against the Australians in the upcoming Test series. He also said much of the criticism of the seniors was due to traditional mindsets surrounding age.
"I think everyone needs to perform, as it is a team game. You can't take your place for granted and I can assure you that is not the case with any of the players," he told the Indian news channel CNN IBN. "People may call us seniors but the amount of work we put in is the same as anyone else."
Sourav Ganguly's omission from the Rest of India squad that faced Delhi in the Irani Trophy recently had cast doubts over the future of the rest of the 'Fab Four' - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. However, Kumble said the criticism was fuelled by conventional notions of age.
"In India, it really doesn't matter whether you are 31 or 32. As soon as you cross 30, I think people start talking. It is not fair to judge someone by just one performance or just one series, especially when someone has performed for 10 years.
"I understand when he is a newcomer, though that is unfair as well. You cannot judge a player by just one series. But when you have played for 10-15 years and contributed to all the victories that India have had in the last 15 years, it is not fair to pass judgement."
He underlined the importance of getting runs in the series against Australia, which would help set the platform for the bowlers, especially the spinners. "I think the first Test match is going to be important. The batting will have to click and I am confident about that.
"If we put runs on the board, we have got the bowling to pick up 20 wickets. The key will be to maintain our intensity throughout the Test. Australia will keep fighting and we will do the same. And if we fight till the last ball is bowled and not give up, I think we have a great chance."
Kumble, who will complete a year as Test captain in November, said the team could have done better during his reign in terms of results. "We could have at least had a series win in Sri Lanka, which would have been great. That would have been a really good year."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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