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no pressure on me ,says kumble

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Veteran Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble says he will not be under pressure when he makes his captaincy debut in the opening Test against Pakistan here on Thursday.

The 37-year-old was named skipper for a three-Test series against Pakistan, replacing Rahul Dravid who quit the captaincy to focus on batting after leading his side to a Test series win in England in September.

"I don't think there will be any pressure on me," Kumble told reporters here on Wednesday.

"On the ground, I will be thinking about bowling and when I have the ball I will be thinking about taking wickets. I will try to motivate others. It's still about taking wickets and getting runs.

"The role I was playing as a player will remain the same. I don't think it will change. I've been around for the last 17 years so I know what to expect."

Kumble debuts at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, where he bagged 10 wickets in a Test innings against Pakistan in 1999 to become only the second bowler after Englishman Jim Laker to achieve the feat.

"Delhi has been very nice for me personally and also for Team India. I'll be hoping it continues. We hope to make a good start against Pakistan," said Kumble, who has so far grabbed 566 Test wickets.

He said in-form Yuvraj Singh would have to wait for a Test berth despite the batsman's impressive showing in the recent one-dayers against Pakistan.

"He'll have to probably wait a little bit more to become a regular member in the Test squad. It's just unfortunate," said Kumble. "He has the quality and I'm sure he will be a pillar of Indian cricket in years to come."

Yuvraj was India's top scorer with 272 runs in five one-dayers against Pakistan, but has played only 19 Tests since making his debut at home against New Zealand in 2003.

Venkatsai Laxman will retain his place in the middle order. He is more experienced than Yuvraj, having scored 5,083 runs in 83 Tests with 10 hundreds and 29 half-centuries.

Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, another player in fine nick, may not find a place in the playing eleven as India plan to go into the match with two slow bowlers and as many seamers.

"We will certainly look at playing the best combination that we believe will get us 20 wickets. At this point we feel Harbhajan Singh and I will play. Let's see if things change in the morning," said Kumble.

The Indian captain also played down the absence of pacemen Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Rudra Pratap Singh, ruled out of the opening match due to injuries. They were replaced with Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma.

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game," said Kumble.

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik pinned hopes on his fast bowlers to keep pressure on a strong Indian batting line-up, containing Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Laxman.

"India have a very good spin attack, but our main strength is fast bowling," he said.

"I am sure Shoaib Akhtar's role will be vital if we win the series. He is our trump card. He has regained rhythm. Mohammad Sami has done well at this level and we also have (leg-spinner) Danish Kaneria."

Malik said the team were confident of making an impressive start, especially after winning the fifth and final one-dayer at Jaipur on Sunday.

"We had lost the one-day series before the Jaipur match, but a win is always important. It was a big morale-booster for us. The boys are now confident of doing well in Tests," he said.

Pakistan lost the one-day series 3-2.
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