Momentum the key: Kumble

Momentum the key: Kumble

Having conquered the visiting New Zealand and England teams in convincing fashion, the one-off Test against Bangladesh may seem like a routine exercise for India as they prepare to host the once dominant force Australia later this month.

Packed in the middle of a gruelling calendar, it’s that sort of a game where India could go easy with the accelerator in a bid to save gas for the crucial final bend. Coach Anil Kumble, speaking to the media at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Tuesday, said the team will not be taking their rivals lightly and are instead focused on building further momentum.

“I think we like to look at it as a continuation from where we left off against England. It’s been a good home season so far and we like to take confidence from that and build on it because we still have a few more Test matches after this as well. So it’s important we take the momentum from where we left off and look at Bangladesh who have done really well against New Zealand,” the 46-year-old said.

After Kumble took over as coach last June, India have won nine Test matches in 12 tries and the former leg-spinner said the team was only concerned about their performances. “What we have gone about in the group is to measure our performances, measure our own expectations and not really look at the opposition. That's really worked well for us so far. I don’t think we need to do anything different against Bangladesh. That’s all we will focus on, irrespective who the opposition is. We like to measure ourselves with what we want to achieve and how we can achieve those goals. As long as we do that and continue to keep winning those moments and performances as a group, I think the results will go our way.

“Test matches are about showing character and pulling back if you have lost a session or continuing to keep the momentum going if you’ve won a session. I'm really glad that if you look back at the England Test series, not many things went our way in terms of the toss while people spoke about toss quite a bit after the New Zealand series. And 400 runs on the board (by England) in the last two Test matches, we could pull out a victory from there. Not just a victory but a convincing victory. We look to continue to do that,” added the ICC Hall of Fame winner.

Shikhar Dhawan, after having failed for the better part of 2016, has made way for Abhinav Mukund for the Bangladesh game. Admitting that opening was a bit of a concern, Kumble felt it’s always good to have a reserve player in that department. “Murali Vijay and KL Rahul have played wonderfully well in the last series. It’s just that you need a back-up opener just in case something happens on the day of the match. As far we are concerned, the openers have always had some issues, be it in the last home series or in the series leading upto it. It’s just a concern.”

Kumble also backed the untested Hardik Pandya to come good in the longer version. “We certainly want to keep Hardik in the mix. He is someone who has the ability to become a good all-rounder in the longer format. It is very rare someone can run in and bowl close to 140 kmph and bat in the lower middle-order. That is the ability Hardik brings in. He has not been really tested in the longer format. We certainly believe that if he is part of this mix, whenever the opportunity comes to try him out, in future, when we travel outside India, I think he will be someone who you will probably look out for.”
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