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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 10:21 GMT
India opt for Kumble as skipper
Anil Kumble
Kumble overtook Glenn McGrath's record of 563 wickets last summer
Veteran spinner Anil Kumble has been appointed India captain for the home Test series against Pakistan.

Mahendra Dhoni led the team to the ICC World Twenty20 crown in South Africa after Rahul Dravid's resignation from the post last summer.

But Kumble, 37, was preferred to Dhoni for the Test job after the position was turned down by Sachin Tendulkar.

"This is definitely short-term," Kumble said. "But I hope to help the team achieve a smooth transition."

Kumble's first match in charge will be the first Test against rivals Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on 22 November - the same the same venue where he took all 10 wickets in an innings against the same opposition in 1999.

He has captained his country before, leading them in a four-wicket one-day win over England in January 2002.


Dravid had relinquished the captain's job in September saying the extra responsibility was affecting his batting.

A five-man selection committee, led by former captain Dilip Vengsarkar, had originally approached Tendulkar, but he turned the job down.

Instead they opted for the experience of Kumble ahead of Dhoni, who has featured in 20 Tests.

Former India coach Greg Chappell recently said the explosive wicket-keeper batsman needed another year of preparation leading the one-day and Twenty20 sides before taking the Test role.

Kumble, who played the first of his 118 Tests in 1990, is the third highest Test wicket-taker in history with 566 dismissals.

And the 37-year-old revealed he had come close to taking the captain's job on previous occasions when he was vice-captain.

"For me it has come at a time which some people might say is late, but from my point of view it's better late than never," said Kumble.

"But having been given the responsibility and the faith I need to ensure that I live up to those expectations and ensure that the team rallies around me.

"It has given me additional motivation to carry on and perform."

Mahendra Singh Dhoni at a press conference
Former selector Kiran More said Dhoni needs more time in Test cricket

But despite getting the nod ahead of Dhoni, Kumble endorsed the 26-year-old's credentials to become a successful Indian Test captain.

"The team has done exceptionally well under him (Dhoni)," said the leg-spinner.

"The younger lot seem to enjoy each other's company. He's a mature person and has all the qualities, that's for sure."

However India coach Aunshuman Gaekwad criticised the selectors' decision to appoint Kumble for just three Tests, saying it was short-sighted with the forthcoming tour of Australia on the horizon.

"They should have named him until the Australia tour at least," said Gaekwad. "This move suggests they are not sure of what they are doing."

Gaekwad's words were reinforced by former chairman of selectors Kiran More, who said Kumble's appointment should have longevity.

"Dhoni's an excellent captain, but he should play another year of Test cricket before being handed the test reins.

"Given the situation, Anil was the best choice. He's experienced and highly respected.

"But they should have named him for the next three series, which would have given the team direction."



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