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Now, Zak & Sree join hit list

cricket Updated: Jun 11, 2011 01:48 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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The list of India's unfit cricketers is getting longer with every passing day. After Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir made themselves unavailable for the West Indies tour due to injury and Yuvraj Singh opted out due to illness, Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth, two key members of Test squad, have also pulled out from the tour due to injury.

Praveen Kumar, already in the West Indies as part of the ODI squad, and Abhimanyu Mithun have been named as replacements for the injured duo. While it's a big opportunity for them to make an impression, Khan and Sreesanth's injuries, especially that of the former, has yet again exposed player mismanagement in Indian cricket.

A media statement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday said: "Zaheer has a right ankle problem, and Sreesanth has a right elbow problem. Both players will require some time off for rehabilitation." Incidentally, the BCCI, while announcing the squad minus Zaheer for the limited overs leg on May 12, had said that the left-arm bowler had been "rested".

Now with Zaheer suddenly pulling out citing an injury, cricket fans would like to know whether it's the board or the players who's hiding injuries.

England on mind

Whatever may be the case, it has been learnt that the forthcoming England tour, which will start immediately after the West Indies tour, weighed heavily on the selectors' and the team management's minds while making the decision.

“Injuries of both the players are not serious. But it was decided not to risk them with an important series coming up in England,” an insider, who was involved in the development, told HT on condition of anonymity.

“England are competing with us when it comes to top ranking in Tests. And the rate of bowlers breaking down in England is higher due to dicey weather. So there was no point in risking two of our key bowlers for the series in the West Indies. Instead, it was thought to have the fittest possible side in England.”

While Zaheer has some answering to do about his injury, the board has managed to avoid a repeat of last year's embarrassment by detecting Sreesanth's injury. The Kerala fast bowler had broken down in the first practice session ahead of the Test series in Sri Lanka last year, drawing ire for hiding his knee injury.