Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Kumble keen to play Test series in Pakistan

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
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New Delhi:Ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble, omitted from the One-day squad on fitness grounds, expects to be fully fit for the Test series against Pakistan while left-arm speedster Zaheer Khan is hoping to achieve 100 per cent fitness in time for the One-dayers.

Kumble, nursing a shoulder injury, had to be left out of the 15-member Indian squad for the five-match One-day series beginning on March 13 after he failed to prove his fitness.

"I am not fully fit now but should be fit for the Test matches which I want to play very much," Kumble told reporters at a function held to unveil the Samsung Cup, the trophy for the India-Pakistan One-day series.

"There are still three weeks to go (for the Test team to be named) and I am sure I will be fit by then," he said. "I am bowling a little bit in the nets and also undergoing strengthening exercises."

Kumble agreed that for a spinner it would be a challenge to rein in the Pakistani batsmen. "None of us have toured Pakistan before. A lot depends on pitches, which would be somewhat similar to what we have at home. If you look at their record, it is not great against spin. So as a spinner you can look forward to playing there."

Zaheer said he was confident of achieving full fitness in time for the One-day series."I have been working hard towards my fitness for the last 8-10 days. I am quite confident that I will achieve 100 per cent fitness by the time the first One-dayer begins," he said.

Zaheer said he was trying to "increase his workload" gradually and by March 10, he would go full steam.

"I hope I would be able to play all five One-dayers," the bowling spearhead said while revealing he was working on fine-tuning the shortcomings pointed out by fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee, whom he met recently in Chennai.

Asked whether he was also working on his reverse swing, the Baroda paceman said, "what is most important is taking wickets whether it is through reverse swing or anything else does not really matter."

Zaheer said he was trying not to get affected by all the talk of Pakistan bowling being better than India's. "I think we should concentrate on our game and play according to the team strategy."

The speedster was appreciative of young pacemen Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji and said as a senior he would help them out whenever needed. "They did well in Australia. I don't think they would require much help but yes, whatever I can do I will do for them being their senior."

Aggressive opener Virender Sehwag was taking the upcoming series in his stride and said he had not devised any specific gameplan for the opposition. "I am practising in the nets. I am also watching the video clippings to observe their bowlers," he said.

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