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Kumble - Show us respect

Skipper stands up for veterans ahead of Australia series

Kumble: Hit back

Indian test captain Anil Kumble has hit back at the 'hurtful' way the media are attacking his side's ageing stars.

A fierce debate is raging in the cricket-mad country about whether it is time for record-breaking batsmen Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, as well as spinner Kumble, to quit.

The debate comes as the quintet - who are all over 30 - have been named in the squad for the first two Tests against Australia, belying media predictions that former captain Ganguly could be dropped.

But television channels have since run programmes on the advancing age of the five players, while the Indian media have reported that a 'voluntary retirement' plan has been drawn up by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

More respectful

But Kumble has hit back at the speculation, saying: "It is just that it needs to be a bit more respectful when people discuss cricketers.

"We don't mind the scrutiny but when it is done really rubbishly and the way it has been portrayed, then it hurts."

He added: "As sportsmen we go out there to perform and win for the country and we have been doing that for the last 18 years and you know, when you do that (the scrutiny), you do that with respect and dignity then there is no problems with that."

The reports over the 'voluntary retirement' plan come as a BCCI official said on Wednesday that the five had been told to plan their retirements by December.

No one

But Kumble, 37, who is being named captain on a series-by-series basis since Dravid abruptly resigned the job last year, said: "No one has spoken to us on these terms and neither have we, but it's all happening in the media."

The speculation is far from ideal preparation for the Indians as they get set for the first of four Test matches against the Australians in Bangalore on October 9, which is being shown live on Sky Sports.