Kumble Hopes Tendulkar Record Will Spur India On
India captain Anil Kumble hoped Sachin Tendulkar's bid to surpass Brian Lara's world test runs record would spur his side on to a series win against Sri Lanka.
Tendulkar needs 172 runs to beat Lara's mark of 11,953 runs with the three-test series against the Sri Lankans starting in Colombo on July 23.
India have a daunting task in the tests though, having won only one of the four series they have played in Sri Lanka since 1985. Their previous trip in 2001 ended in a 2-1 defeat.
"Every time there is a sense of achievement not just for the individual but also for the team," Kumble told reporters. "But the most important factor would be to go out there and ensure we get a series victory.
"Sachin I'm sure at some point in time will cross the landmark. It will be a huge achievement not just for him as an individual, but for Indian cricket as well."
Tendulkar, 35, who holds the record for most test hundreds (39), returns after a groin injury had sidelined him for a one-day tri-series in Bangladesh followed by the Asia Cup in Pakistan. India lost both finals.
Kumble was confident India can add to their improving overseas test record in Sri Lanka.
"As a test unit we have done really well in the last two or three years," he said. "We're looking forward to the challenge in Sri Lanka.
"It is not going to be easy, but we have the potential to go out there and win the series."
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh returns after serving a five-match ban for slapping compatriot Shanthakumaran Sreesanth at a domestic Twenty20 league game in May.
"He is a key member of the team," Kumble said of his spin partner. "He is looking forward to the challenge of going out there and getting wickets and ensuring we get the victories."
India, who leave for Sri Lanka on Tuesday, begin with a three-day game against the Sri Lankan Board XI starting on Friday.
The tests will be followed by a five-match one-day series.
© Reuters 2008