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Don’t see any reason why we can’t win, says Kumble

Melbourne: Team India captain Anil Kumble didn’t reveal his cards when he spoke to the media on Tuesday morning, but The Telegraph’s sources confirmed that predecessor Rahul Dravid will open with specialist Wasim Jaffer in the first of four 3mobile Tests against Australia.

V.V.S.Laxman is going to bat at No.3, followed by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kumble and the rest will follow.

Both Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma were named in the XII, but the new-ball bowler is expected to play his second Test within three weeks.

Ten of the Australians select themselves, with Brad Hogg (and not Shaun Tait) almost certain to take that one remaining slot.

The following, meanwhile, are excerpts from Kumble’s Q&A session:

On India’s chances

We’ve got a great chance of doing well and getting the right results... We’re motivated and know the importance of doing well against a top team... We’re up for it... If we have runs on the board, then any team can get under pressure... Don’t see any reason why we can’t win..

On the weather hurting India’s build-up to the series

We’ve done whatever we could and have tried to get the maximum out of the practice facilities... We’ve been playing quite a bit of Test cricket and are match-fit... Rain isn’t in our hands, but we’ve got experienced players to handle this kind of a situation... We came prepared knowing there would only be one warm-up game. The team’s mood and spirit is very good.

On the importance of starting strongly

Because of the nature of series’ nowadays, with back-to-back Tests, it’s important to get the momentum early on... Having said that, in Test cricket, you still have time to catch up.

On India’s priority

To put runs on the board and, then, create pressure. Batting is our strength and the way forward is to get runs on the board.

On the ongoing tour being the last to Australia for the senior-most players

It’s a very important tour for all of us... I can talk for myself... This is definitely going to be my last tour and it will be very special to go back with a victory... It’s not just the senior players, but even the younger ones are excited about doing well...It’s a challenge and we’re ready for it... Having been here before, most of us know what the challenge is...

On the MCG wicket

It has been watered a bit and we need to wait and see how it looks (on Wednesday)... It looked good today... There’s sure to be some movement early on, but that’s bound to happen. If the weather’s good, then we’re going to have a good Test.

On whether the bowlers too need to adapt

Subtle changes have to be made, yes. You need to be more consistent with the length on these wickets.

On the Australian attack

Their combination isn’t my concern... We’ll be prepared for whatever comes our way... It’s their call whether they want to play four fast bowlers... We’re only looking at what we can do to ensure the best result...

On whether the Australians actually have a weak link

We respect the opposition and don’t look at weak links... We’d rather focus on our strengths... It’s important to do our things well.

On the bit about racism

We’ve come to play cricket and that’s our focus...

On whether he underbowled himself in the Test series against Pakistan

No... Don’t think I did so... It depends on the situation... I’m first a bowler and then a captain. It’s important for me to do my job as a bowler and then do whatever the captaincy requires.

Finally, on Team India having been defensive at The Oval (in August) and in Bangalore a fortnight ago

I can’t really speak about The Oval (Rahul Dravid was captain), but I don’t think I was defensive in Bangalore... If we had 12 (more) overs, we would have won the Test... I’ve never been a defensive bowler, I’ve looked to attack... Even with a defensive field I have wickets in mind... People watching from outside could find some strategy defensive, but one knows the strengths and potential of the team... Whatever we do is for the best interests of the team... We’d like to play aggressively and get the right results, yes, but if we’re in the same situation as in Bangalore, then I'm going to make the same call.

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