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Monday, October 13, 2008

We could have chased 299 had Viru and Gambhir fired: Kumble

BANGALORE: Indian skipper Anil Kumble on Monday minced no words in saying that his team could have chased 299 runs and won the first Test if ope
ners Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had given a rousing start.

"We would have definitely chased the target if Viru and Gambhir had given us a good start," Kumble said.

"After we fought back through Zaheer (Khan) and Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) we were confident of finishing the match on a high note. If we had got a start like we did in the first innings we could have gone for the target. But unfortunately we did not get it and we had to settle for a draw," he added.

Kumble said toss also played a vital role. "I think the toss also played an important role and if I had won the toss probably things would have been different and we could have been in a much better position on the fifth day."

About the Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch, Kumble said, "The Bangalore pitch has changed with people fiddling with it in the past eight years or so but again as I said before winning the toss could have made a difference."

Asked as why the middle order batsmen was not coming up to the mark, particularly VVS Laxman, Kumble quickly retorted, saying it was unfair to judge a player on a single performance.

"It is unfair to point a finger at any of them (Fab Four). Laxman has been a real champion and has won us matches in the past," Kumble said.

"It is not fair that people try to put an axe on him every time he fails and forget his contributions to the team's cause in the past or for that matter any of the players. I'm sure all of them will perform as they have the quality and will get centuries at Mohali," he said.

On his own wicketless show on home ground here, Kumble said, "I think just one failure should not be held against a player. As a captain I have played my part. But I could not take wickets. It is not possible for a bowler to take wickets in every Test as everybody has an off day.

About his reported shoulder injury, Kumble said, "As far as my shoulder is concerned, it is much better now. There are still three days to go for the Mohali Test. We will monitor it (shoulder) closely."

With the first Test slipping out of his fingers, Kumble is now eyeing the second Test and sounds confident.

"We are certainly going for a win at Mohali. We are confident of doing well in the series as our aim is to win the series. In fact, we would have been in a better position if we had got rid of Haddin or Watson yesterday.

"They batted well. Even today if I had taken Haddin's catch in the very first over, things would have been different but it did not workout that way," Kumble said.

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