Selectors set their eyes on fit-again Zaheer Khan
The left-arm pacer was originally dropped because of lack of fitness. The selectors now, plan to take stock of Zaheer’s fitness before the team for the West Indies Tests is selected. Anand Sachar reports.cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2013 00:18 IST
One reason the national selectors are persisting with Ishant Sharma in this series against Australia is a lack of option in terms of quality replacements. However, Ishant will have fresh motivation to discover his form quickly.
That is due to the steady progress being made by Zaheer Khan on his injury comeback. The selectors plan to travel to Lahli, Haryana for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy opener against the hosts (October 27-30), where Zaheer will be leading the former’s attack.
The selectors plan to take stock of Zaheer’s fitness before the team for the West Indies Tests is selected. “Though the ODIs will be on, at least one selector could drop in at the Ranji game to watch Zaheer play. With the way our pacers have bowled against Australia, Zaheer could be a good option,” a BCCI official told HT. “His bowling was never in doubt; it is his fitness which they want to gauge.”
The left-arm pacer, who visited France and South Africa for training programmes, was originally dropped because of lack of fitness. Since his return, the 35-year-old has claimed seven wickets in two first-class games against West Indies ‘A’.
On Monday, Zaheer trained with his Ranji teammates at the Wankhede, where he bowled long spells to Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer. “This is a very fit Zaheer we are seeing. Also, his release of the ball is perfect,” Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni said.
Zaheer has asked his former India teammate Ashish Nehra to send a photograph of the Lahli wicket. Nehra, who has played a few games at the venue, is also known to have told them that the wicket assists seam bowling.