Anil Kumble, India's Test captain, has denied that there are differences between the players in his squad after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's recent comments defending the dropping of seniors for the ODIs against Australia.
"We don't look at each other as a senior or a junior. It is one unit." Kumble said in Chennai ahead of two Test series against South Africa. "We did well in Australia and will seek to maintain the momentum against South Africa at home."
Kumble said that the matches would be contested in the right spirit. "There is this demarcation line. We will not cross it. Our focus will be on cricket."
Gary Kirsten, who took over as India's coach on March 1, said he had been looking forward to working with the team. "I spent a few weeks with the team [as a consultant] in Australia. I will be taking that process forward."
Kirsten felt an assignment against his former team could not be considered an advantage, saying that "in the age of television, everyone knows everything about the other teams." He also said that Paddy Upton, India's mental conditioning coach who previously worked with the South African team, would not divulge details about them. "There are certain issues that are confidential, like the players' personal lives."
Meanwhile Kumble expected a keenly contested series. "The South Africans have done well in India on the previous occasions. It should be a good challenge."
Looking ahead to the Chepauk Test, Kumble said the pitch "should take spin as the game progresses", while adding that Rahul Dravid would bat at his customary No. 3 position.
The first Test against South Africa begins on March 26.