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Agarkar plays down Zaheer's injury worries

November 04, 2012 18:55 IST

The Indian selectors will be sweating over Zaheer Khan's fitness as the pacer walked off the field holding his groin in a domestic match, just a day before the team for the first Test against England will be announced.

Zaheer bowled 20.5 overs for Mumbai taking one wicket for 41 runs before retiring back to the dressing room with some obvious discomfort during day three of the Ranji Trophy against Railways on Sunday.

But Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar quashed all speculations about the veteran pacer's fitness saying "it is just cramps."

"Zak [Zaheer] is okay, he is cramping a bit. He had a long day, very humid," Agarkar said.

"He should be okay, he should be on the field tomorrow morning," he added.

Agarkar pointed out that Zaheer must have gone back as a precautionary measure with an important Test series coming up.

"Sometimes you want to hold back a little bit instead of doing any damage. He should be okay tomorrow morning," he said.

As the left-arm pacer started trudging back to the pavilion, it brought back memories of his injury pull out during India's last tour of England last year. He suffered a hamstring strain during the first Test at Lord's after bowling just 13.3 overs on the first morning and was ruled out of action for nearly six months.

Zaheer will be the key to India's fortune in the four-Test against India. His absence will be a big blow for the hosts as the other Indian pacers, except for Umesh Yadav, are struggling with form and fitness.

Agarkar did not read too much into Zaheer's pull out and blamed it on the weather. "He was just cramping badly. It suddenly got a little humid, the last couple of days, probably dehydrated a little bit."

Analysing Zaheer's bowling in the Ranji match, the Mumbai captain said he got a good workout to get himself ready for the Ahmedabad Test.

"He bowled well. There is a Test match at the back of his mind. You want to get yourself ready for the test match, bowl as many overs. Sure he would have liked a few more wickets but I think 20 overs is a fair workout under your belt as a bowler. You need overs going into big games. It was not that he was just turning his arm over. He was obviously trying to get his lines, lengths and rhythm right for the coming Test series which is 10 days away. He is in good shape," he said.

Virender Sehwag is also under an injury cloud after hurting his finger while playing for Delhi against Uttar Pradesh at Ghaziabad.

Sehwag was unable to open the innings for Delhi in their second innings after he sustained an injury on the ring finger of his right hand when fielding at first slip on Saturday.

Mohammed Kaif, who was batting on 78, got an outside edge off Ishant Sharma but Sehwag failed to take the catch and in the process he hurt his finger.

The injury forced Sehwag to bat at No. 6 for Delhi in their second innings with the visitors at 166 for four, still trailing UP by two runs after they taken a huge 168-run first innings lead.

England also have a couple of injuries problems of their own. Fast bowler Steven Finn is suffering from a thigh injury which he picked up during England's first warm-up match against India A in Mumbai last week.

All-rounder Stuart Broad injured his left heel on Sunday during England's second tour match against Mumbai A being played at the DY Patil stadium in Nerul. He will undergo a scan to determine the full extent of his injury.

The first Test will be played in Ahmedabad from November 15-19.

Harish Kotian