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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

India start overseas test but where is fast bowling ‘consultant’ Zaheer Khan?

The day Ravi Shastri was appointed India coach till the 2019 World Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also announced Zaheer Khan to be their bowling consultant. But there is now clarity whether he will travel to South Africa or not

cricket Updated: Dec 29, 2017 22:36 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
Zaheer Khan was earlier appointed as Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team’s bowling consultant.
Zaheer Khan was earlier appointed as Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team’s bowling consultant.(AP)
         

Not normally does the Indian cricket team carry a separate coterie of bowlers just to give their batsman adequate net practice. A tour of South Africa, where India have never won a Test series, however demands that extra initiative. This trip will provide experience beyond dreams for pacers Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Basil Thampi and Mohammed Siraj who will be asked to be at their best when India start training at the Western Province Cricket Club from Saturday. But what about the consultants who were signed up for exactly a trip like this?

READ | Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma check in as Indian cricket team lands in Cape Town

The day Ravi Shastri was appointed India coach till the 2019 World Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also announced Zaheer Khan to be their bowling consultant and Rahul Dravid as overseas batting consultant. Later, the BCCI clarified that Zaheer would be overseas bowling consultant on a tour-to-tour basis.

Also coach of India’s age-group cricket, Dravid is now in New Zealand with the U-19 team for the upcoming World Cup. So his absence is understandable. Given his multiple responsibilities, it is becoming clear that Dravid may not travel with the senior team unless something dramatic happens.

READ | Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara face fresh challenge in South Africa Test series

But as of now, Zaheer is not with the senior squad. When asked, a BCCI support staff said he had no update on the matter. When HT contacted one of the members of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that had proposed Zaheer’s name as consultant, he too wasn’t sure.

India’s bowling department hasn’t been this varied for a long time. Not only do they have a settled pace core in Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar but they also have the likes of Ishant Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya jostling for a berth, not to forget the talented Jasprit Bumrah who could spring a surprise if selected.

READ | Angry Shikhar Dhawan slams Emirates as ‘unprofessional’, airline clarifies rules

After retirement, Zaheer --- one of India’s finest seamers --- was Delhi Daredevils’ captain cum bowling mentor. So it’s not as if he is a greenhorn in terms of coaching experience. One of the more successful Indian pacers in South Africa, Zaheer’s experience could have been treated as a repository of knowledge for seamers like Bhuvneshwar and Shami in the week-long buildup to the first Test. India however seem to be backing themselves more than looking outside for guidance.

First Published: Dec 29, 2017 20:02 IST

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