The selectors reportedly want to give Zaheer proper rest as they believe India would be best served if he returns at his peak in the Test series against Australia. However, even this does not undermine the importance of match practice for Zaheer. And nothing better can serve his purpose than a crucial encounter against the second-best team in the group.
Zaheer went into the Test series against England as India's pace spearhead but failed to live up to his reputation. With James Anderson outdoing Zaheer in his backyard, there were plenty of questions when he was dropped ahead of the fourth Test.
Fitness has always been an issue throughout his career and the considerable drop in pace of late was the final blow as Zaheer, despite getting requisite swing, failed to trouble the English batsmen.
With the host association rolling out a sporting wicket, the situation seems ideal for Zaheer to get his rhythm back.