Ahead of the Perth Test, Zaheer lets one fly
A relatively quiet series so far, the verbal jousting has begun in earnest ahead of the third Test in Perth with Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin firing the first salvo and India pacer Zaheer Khan retorting in kind. Rohit Bhaskar reports. Taking on Aussiesindia Updated: Jan 11, 2012 10:23 IST
On India's last tour to Australia four years ago, the verbal sparring took place in the second Test in Sydney, before action headed to Perth.
This time around, after a relatively quiet series so far, the verbal jousting has begun in earnest ahead of the third Test in Perth with Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin firing the first salvo and India pacer Zaheer Khan retorting in kind.
The controversy was set forth by Haddin's comments on a radio chat show when he called the Indian team "fragile" and more vulnerable to cracking under pressure than any other team in world cricket.
"We know this side can be as fragile as any team in the world if things aren't going their way and they can turn on each other and the media turns on them pretty quick."We knew if we could keep them out there and put the numbers like we did on the board (in Sydney) we knew we'd get the rewards because they break quicker than anyone in the world," Haddin told Sky Sports Radio Australia.
Not having any of it, Zaheer Khan responded by telling Haddin to work on his own "fragile" game which has already seen him spill three chances in the first two Tests and seen his place come under threat from the upcoming Matthew Wade.
Keeping laughter at bay, Zaheer said, "Haddin should focus on his 'keeping. That looks really fragile to me. He needs to start moving."
Zaheer added that Haddin's only role in the team seems to be as the designated big mouth. "I think by the sound of it Haddin has been appointed for that in the Australian team," Zaheer said of the possible mind games being played by the Australian camp.
"He is doing all the talk," Zaheer said. "So he is definitely playing his role."
Peter Siddle chose to steer clear of the controversy, but was forced to say a line or two when almost all the questions in his press conference revolved around the Zaheer-Haddin verbal sparring.
"(It is) just a lead-up to the Test," Siddle said. "The pressure that we've been building as bowling partnerships and a bowling unit is what has been working for us, putting the pressure on India. Whether you call it intimidation, whether it's just good team bowling, whatever you think, but that's what Bradley was getting at. The pressure we have been building without bowling."
Siddle shot back at Zaheer, saying, "These things come out. Zaheer is saying he should concentrate on his 'keeping. I wouldn't like to see how good a tip Zaheer can give him on his 'keeping.
"I don't think it's his place to say that either. It's just a part of the game. Zaheer is going all right at the moment, so he likes to say those things."