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October 22, 2008
Anil Kumble, India's Test captain, is confident of returning for the third Test against Australia in Delhi after sitting out the second game in Mohali due to a shoulder injury. Kumble said it was unfortunate he could not be part of the combination which achieved India's biggest Test win in terms of runs - 320 - and that he was looking forward to returning to the Feroz Shah Kotla where he has taken 55 wickets in six games.
"It was very heartening to see MS [Dhoni] lead from the front and it was fantastic to watch the way the team approached the game and the intensity we kept up throughout," Kumble wrote in his syndicated newspaper column. "And while I unfortunately had to sit this one out, I'm raring to get going at the Kotla, my favourite Test centre."
Kumble had a forgettable outing in the first match in Bangalore, going wicketless for only the third time in his Test career. He reacted strongly to media criticism about his captaincy, form, and fitness, and insisted he would return once fully fit.
Kris Srikkanth, the new chairman of selectors, agreed that Kumble had a good chance of returning for the Test, starting on October 29. "I'm very confident he will play," Srikkanth told ABC Radio. "One of the reasons he probably didn't play this (Mohali) match was so that he gets proper rest for the next two Tests."
Kumble's return, however, could come at the expense of the legspinner Amit Mishra, who took seven wickets on debut. Kumble was very impressed with Mishra's use of flight and variations.
"With an eye to the future, it also augurs well for India that we've found someone like Amit," Kumble wrote. "An orthodox bowler, he spins the ball a lot, uses his flight very nicely and frankly, it was great watching him. The first five-for I got told me that if I could get one, I could get more. Confidence is critical. As Amit's five-for has come in his first game itself against Australia, it's even better for him."
He said Mishra was finally being rewarded after going through the grind in eight domestic seasons. "He bowled beautifully and not just by the debutant yardstick. All the hard yards he's done as a domestic cricketer served him well here. It's incredibly tough work, the domestic circuit and Amit serves as a perfect example of what perseverance can do."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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