Melbourne: Team India captain Anil Kumble didnt reveal his cards when he spoke to the media on Tuesday morning, but The Telegraphs 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 Kumbles Q&A session:
On Indias chances
Weve got a great chance of doing well and getting the right results... Were motivated and know the importance of doing well against a top team... Were up for it... If we have runs on the board, then any team can get under pressure... Dont see any reason why we cant win..
On the weather hurting Indias build-up to the series
Weve done whatever we could and have tried to get the maximum out of the practice facilities... Weve been playing quite a bit of Test cricket and are match-fit... Rain isnt in our hands, but weve got experienced players to handle this kind of a situation... We came prepared knowing there would only be one warm-up game. The teams mood and spirit is very good.
On the importance of starting strongly
Because of the nature of series nowadays, with back-to-back Tests, its important to get the momentum early on... Having said that, in Test cricket, you still have time to catch up.
On Indias 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
Its 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... Its not just the senior players, but even the younger ones are excited about doing well...Its a challenge and were 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... Theres sure to be some movement early on, but thats bound to happen. If the weathers good, then were 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 isnt my concern... Well be prepared for whatever comes our way... Its their call whether they want to play four fast bowlers... Were 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 dont look at weak links... Wed rather focus on our strengths... Its important to do our things well.
On the bit about racism
Weve come to play cricket and thats our focus...
On whether he underbowled himself in the Test series against Pakistan
No... Dont think I did so... It depends on the situation... Im first a bowler and then a captain. Its 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 cant really speak about The Oval (Rahul Dravid was captain), but I dont think I was defensive in Bangalore... If we had 12 (more) overs, we would have won the Test... Ive never been a defensive bowler, Ive 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... Wed like to play aggressively and get the right results, yes, but if were in the same situation as in Bangalore, then I'm going to make the same call.