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'No question of dropping Rahane' - Kumble

Anil Kumble on Ajinkya Rahane: "He's scored really well, he's been extremely successful over the last couple of years" AFP

Anil Kumble, India's coach, has put their first-Test defeat down to a failure to adapt to the challenging conditions in Pune rather than anything their opponents did.

"Australia are a quality side. All the other touring sides were quality sides too," Kumble said, when asked if Australia tested India in a way their other oppositions during this home season - New Zealand, England and Bangladesh - didn't. "I don't think we played to our potential. And that's what we'd like to do [in the second Test in Bengaluru].

"We'd like to come back into this Test match and play to our potential and not really worry about [the opposition]. I think I did mention in the previous presser, or probably against Bangladesh, someone asked me about the opposition. We only look at what we need to tick. If we keep ticking those boxes, results go our way. And that's what we'd like to do here.

"We didn't tick those boxes in the last game, and we didn't win. So we need to tick all those boxes - be it partnerships as a batting unit, partnerships as a bowling unit or taking those catches - all those things are important to win Test matches. That's what we'll focus on."

India's defeat in Pune ended an unbeaten run stretching to 19 Test matches.

"You can't keep winning every game," Kumble said. "It has to come to an end at some point of time. But as I said, 20 games in the current scenario of Test cricket - it's quite challenging for any international side to go out there and keep winning. And that's what this team has been able to do. Across conditions, be it Sri Lanka, India, West Indies. And against quality sides, we've won from difficult situations.

"We have adapted to various conditions and also various situations. That's what we didn't do in the last game. That's why the result didn't go our way. That's why we are looking forward to this game to again start on a winning note."

In Pune, India played their regular combination of five batsmen, a keeper, and five bowlers. Asked if the magnitude of their defeat there - they were bowled out for 105 and 107 - would necessitate playing an extra batsman, Kumble said India wouldn't change their thinking based on one result.

"No I don't think so," he said. "It all depends on what we believe is the right combination to win a Test match. And that's all we do. If we believe that four bowlers are enough or five bowlers are needed, which five bowlers or which four bowlers, all that depends on what we look at. Our aim is to win every game. That's the combination we'll put out there."

Kumble brushed aside suggestions that India might think of leaving out Ajinkya Rahane - who has only passed 50 once in his last nine completed Test innings - for Karun Nair, whose last Test innings was a triple-hundred in Chennai.

"I think there's no question of looking at dropping Rahane," Kumble said. "He's scored really well, he's been extremely successful over the last couple of years. There's absolutely no question about that. In terms of the team composition, we still haven't discussed on that. All 16 are available.

"It's unfortunate that Karun has missed out after he scored that triple-hundred. That's the way the composition of the team has been where we've looked to play five bowlers and you know it's unfortunate. He came in as a replacement [for the injured Rahane during the series against England]. It's really nice to have those kind of choices in the team where people have been successful in a group.

"And this group has been, like I mentioned before the first Test or even against Bangladesh where Karun couldn't make it, that's the beauty about this group where whoever comes in has done really well. Yes, they've been left out, there have been times where people have had to be left out because of combinations that we go with. But everyone is available. It's unfortunate for Karun but he's one class act and you've seen that in the short international opportunities that he's got."

Kumble grew tetchy when the talk moved to the Pune pitch - which was rated 'poor' in match referee Chris Broad's report. "Can we move on?" he asked. "It's only 22 yards, it won't be different here."

When asked if there was any one kind of pitch he did not like to come up against, Kumble said he never dwelled on such questions.

"There's nothing like that," he said. "I never looked at the pitch. People wrote a lot about my bowling with regard to pitch. Unfortunately as a bowler, or as a captain or as a coach, it never bothered me. Yes, you go there, you look at the pitch, and then come up with what you need to do, what kind of strategies you need with regards to what you read looking at the pitch. That's about it.

"There was a lot of talk during my playing career that he can bowl on one particular pitch. That didn't really bother me. Nor does it bother me now."