rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » 'Zaheer's selection was a risk that did not work'

'Zaheer's selection was a risk that did not work'

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 09:51 IST

'Zaheer's selection was a risk that did not work'

     Next

Next
Bikash Mohapatra

With Zaheer Khan out of the series, former India stumper Kiran More tells Bikash Mohapatra, the Indian team has a tall task ahead.

Zaheer Khan is an injury worry once more. India's pace spearhead has been sidelined for about 14 to 16 weeks (officially) after aggravating an injury. The official explanation says it is a recurring hamstring strain and a right ankle impingement, something that would require both surgery and rehabilitation.

It couldn't have come at a worse time for the team. Down 0-2 in the series against England, following thrashings at Lord's and Trent Bridge, India has to now do without their main bowler for the rest of the series. What's more, the recovery could take longer than expected.

It is not that Zaheer had played much part in the series. However, it is the impact he had that made the difference (till that point).

In the 13.2 overs that he bowled in the opening Test at Lord's, the left-armer used the overcast conditions to his advantage and accounted for both the openers early to put England on the backfoot.

A hamstring injury kept him out for the rest of the Test and the subsequent one at Nottingham. Even though he was declared fit to play the two-day practice game against Northamptonshire, he could only bowl three overs before being forced to leave the field, giving rise to speculation on the extent of his injury.


Image: Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Reuters
     Next

RP Singh to replace Zaheer Khan

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

While it seemed certain that he wouldn't make it for the third Test at Edgbaston, as first reported by rediff.com, he was expected to be fit for the latter half of the tour.

However, after a lot of dilly-dallying, the BCCI finally confirmed the bowler had failed to recover and was ruled out for the rest of the series. This, after the board had earlier in the day included him in the squad for the lone T20 and five one-dayers against England. (RP Singh has been drafted in as a replacement now).

This gives rise to a couple of very pertinent questions.

Why did the selectors pick Zaheer for the ODI squad in the first place? Why did they choose to risk him? Kiran More, a former chairman of selectors, explained the scenario.

"Zaheer is a key player for India," he reasoned, adding, "So it (selecting him for the England tour) was a risk the selectors took.

"Unfortunately for them it didn't work out."


Image: RP Singh
Photographs: Getty Images
Prev     Next

'The selectors knew the extent of the injury'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It is imperative to mention here that Zaheer had missed the preceding tour of the West Indies having picked an injury during the Indian Premier League (IPL IV).

Did the selectors make a hasty decision in selecting for the tour of England? Were they not aware of the extent of his injury?

"Of course, the selectors knew the extent of the injury," said More.

"The selectors are informed about everything concerning a player and are regularly updated," he continued, adding, "They are communicated by the team staff about the injury status and fitness of the players.

"If that is not happening, then something is not right.

"The selectors have to take the blame in this case. The physio, the trainer and others must have been consulted before taking the decision in this case."


Image: Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Getty Images
Prev     Next

'I don't see India coming back in this series'

Prev     
Prev

With Zaheer out of the picture, the Indian team has a tall task ahead. The other bowlers, despite working hard, haven't yet delivered the desired results -- as the Trent Bridge Test proved.

Therefore, winning two Tests back-to-back and squaring the series looks a tall order for the visitors. A loss at Edgbaston, on the other hand, would ensure England take over the top spot from India in the ICC Test rankings.

"Without Zaheer, I don't see the other bowlers taking 20 England wickets," admitted More, adding, "We simply don't have the bowlers. Then there is a lack of fitness, a crisis of confidence.

"I don't see India coming back in this series."


Image: Duncan Fletcher, MS Dhoni and Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Getty Images
Prev