Kirsten bats for under-fire Kumble

Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008, 1:37 [IST]
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Mohali: Indian coach Gary Kirsten today supported Kumble and said that veteran leg-spinner would overcome his shoulder injury and bounce back with a match-winning performance in the second Test against Australia here.

"We dont look at one Test, but over a long period of time. Kumble is one of the greatest Indian cricketers ever. A great player struggles (momentarily) before coming back stronger. Kumble has been doing the same for 17 years and I believe he would come up with a match-winning performance here," he said.

Overall, Kirsten was happy with the way India snatched a draw in the first Test and the cohesion in the side also warmed his heart.

"Im very happy with the way we played the first Test. Everyone got some time in the middle. Most made some contributions to the side, it was not big scores but still some sort of contribution and that too in pressure situations.

"Even from my playing days, I have never seen such unity and togetherness in an Indian team. They are eager to win the Test series against Australia.

"We had great preparation and I think the greatest catalyst was the fact that they are playing world number one team. Everyone is talking about team and not individual record. This team firmly believes they can beat Australia," Kirsten added.

Kirsten was also happy with a certain change in the age old tradition of the spinners scripting Indias series win at home.

"Now the pacers are doing that, isnt it exciting? I believe they have got skills with which they would succeed on any kind of track, anywhere," he said.

Pacer Zaheer Khan came in for special praise from Kirsten.

"I think what makes him such a force is that he has tremendous belief in himself, which helps any player. He is very intelligent too, knows what needs to be done and when.

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