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Kumble defends Kohli on ball tampering issue

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Mohali, Nov 24 (IANS) Indian cricket team chief coach Anil Kumble on Thursday dismissed allegations of ball tampering levelled against Test captain Virat Kohli by a British publication.

British tabloid Daily Mail had produced inconclusive evidence on Tuesday to show that Kohli used to shine the ball with the residue of a sweet in his mouth during the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam.

Referring to television footage of the incident, the newspaper had claimed that Kohli put his hands deep in his mouth, and then shined one side of the ball during the second Test which was played from November 9 to 13.

But the doubts raised by the English media seemed to backfire as Kohli's actions were not cited by the umpire or the match referee after the match.

"First of all, I don't want to react to any reports in the media. As far as I am concerned, the umpires or the match referee never ever came to us talking about it.

"It is certainly something we will not like to give much wind about. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing to worry about. People can allege, they can write what they want in the media. As far I am concerned, there is nothing that our players are a part of," Kumble told reporters here on Thursday.

Kumble also defended South Africa's stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis who was fined his entire match fee for allegedly tampering with the ball during the recent Test against Australia in Hobart.

"Even for Faf du Plessis, South Africa have played exceptional cricket to beat Australia 2-0 (in the series) and to be told that there has been ball tampering is very silly. It is like making a mountain out of a molehill," the former leg-spinner asserted.

Kumble also praised the Indian bowlers for their performance during the ongoing Test series against England.

England had dominated the drawn first Test in Rajkot before India won the second contest in Visakhapatnam to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

"Very impressed. Like I said in the first press conference at the start of the series that the bowlers have been brilliant. It was not easy because they have bowled about close to 240 overs in Rajkot and then within three days they bowled almost 200 overs in the last Test match," Kumble said.

"So never easy when have to go in there back to back. Although we have five bowlers, still the effort and the way they responded and went about being very relentless in their pursuit to go out there and win was very evident and I am really pleased with the way we were able to win the Test match in Vizag," he added.

The former India captain heaped praise on rookie off-spinner Jayant Yadav for his performance in his debut Test in Visakhapatnam.

Yadav bagged three wickets during England's second innings at Visakhapatnam for a match haul of four wickets.

He was also useful with the bat, posting vital contributions lower down the order.

"(I am) very impressed. In the interactions that I have had, he comes across as a very balanced person. Probably he had a dream debut. He contributed with the bat, he contributed with the ball and had a brilliant fielding effort in the first innings.

"So overall you can't ask for more. The team goes on to win as well, so there is nothing more you can ask for. But as a youngster, coming into this team he showed a lot of character and maturity," Kumble said.

"Although he was playing his first match, he showed a lot of maturity in the way he batted with the lower order and even in the second innings batting with (Mohammed) Shami and getting those 30-40 runs. The way he bowled was very impressive.

"It really augurs well for Indian cricket that someone who has just come into the team has really showed that kind of an approach," he added.

With the third Test due to start here on Saturday, Kumble asserted that the Indians are not too worried about the pitch at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.

"It (the pitch) has certainly gone a lot slower to what probably it used to be in the 90s. I am not someone who will give too much importance to the conditions. We need to play good cricket," he insisted.

"I certainly believe that we played really good cricket both in Rajkot and Vizag. That's why we are 1-0 ahead in the series. We will have to do that again. No matter what the conditions are," Kumble added.

"The pitch has certainly gone a bit slower and is not the way it was in the early 90s."

--IANS

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