India in Australia 2011-12 December 9, 2011

Zaheer wants to make a difference in Australia

74

Zaheer Khan, the India medium-pacer, has said he is fit and wants to make a difference on his third tour of Australia, where he has not managed to complete a Test series because of injury. Zaheer played only three Tests on India's trips to Australia in 2003-04 and 2007-08.

"This tour is very important. I want to be the factor which makes the difference as there are so many expectations on me," Zaheer said after Mumbai's Ranji Trophy match against Saurashtra ended in Rajkot. "I think I have done enough to get on that flight [to Australia]. And now the next step is to fulfill all those expectations."

Zaheer completed his second Ranji match in successive weeks for Mumbai after deciding to test his fitness. The national selectors had named him as the 17th member India's Test squad to Australia, subject to Zaheer proving he was fit.

On July 21 at Lord's, the first day of the Pataudi Trophy, Zaheer pulled his right hamstring in the third over of his third spell. Those 13.3 overs were last he bowled in a Test on that tour of England. He bowled three overs in the warm-up game against Northamptonshire but was ruled out of the remainder of the series because of an ankle injury in addition to the hamstring. Zaheer had ankle surgery and returned to competitive cricket only two weeks ago, when Mumbai played Orissa in Cuttack between November 29 and December 1.

Against Orissa, Zaheer bowled 22 overs and took 4 for 52 in the match. Mumbai won by an innings and 210 runs. He said he felt good after that game but needed to work on his "bowling rhythm".

In Rajkot, Zaheer had to toil on a flatter pitch against tougher opposition. His match figures of 21-2-82-3 comprised five short spells across two days and he was in the field for 170 overs.

"This match it was much better," Zaheer said about his rhythm. "The more I bowl the better I am going to get. I have bowled around 40-45 overs in the two games. That was the whole idea; I wanted to build it up. What was important was to spend a lot of time on the field. And not by choice, but we managed to spend 170 overs on the field, which was good in a way for me, in terms of getting that lethargy out and getting the feel of it, as that is what Test match cricket is all about."

When asked what he meant by bowling rhythm, Zaheer said, " [It] all has to come together. Physically I am fine, I am not feeling anything wrong. But I wanted to bowl more to get the co-ordination going in terms of my bowling.

"I have done everything possible in discussion with the physios. We chalked out this plan. So far I have been achieving the milestones about eight to ten days before they were to be delivered. That is what the plan was: when I am boarding that flight [to Australia] there are no doubts in my mind whether I am going be able to bowl 20 overs, whether I am going to be able to come back."

On his previous trips to Australia, Zaheer returned home injured without completing the tours. In 2003-04, he missed the second Test due to a hamstring injury, played the third, though it later emerged that he was not fully fit, and then missed the final Test. Four years later, Zaheer took five wickets during India's 337-run defeat at the MCG. On the eve of the Sydney Test, however, he hurt his left heel during practice and flew home.

On this tour, Zaheer has the responsibility of leading an inexperienced bowling attack. Among the other bowlers, only Ishant Sharma has played internationals in Australia. "The way I see it, it all worked out perfectly fine, because I had a four-month break so I could prepare well for this series. In the past, it used to be at the end of the season that I would go to Australia and breakdown. So I am really looking forward to joining the team and to playing my part, and also to helping the youngsters and guiding them in whatever way I can.

Zaheer was encouraged by the pace of the younger fast bowlers, such as Umesh Yadav, in India's squad. "You have seen them bowl at 140-plus kph, which is a good sign. They must enjoy their bowling because it is the early part of their international career. That should work in our favour because you have an experienced bowler in Ishant, and Umesh who is young and is hostile in his approach right now."

The first Test begins on Boxing Day at the MCG and Zaheer said it was important for the bowlers to get used to the bounce in Australia during the two warm-up games. "As far as pitches are concerned there will be bounce on offer," he said. "That is one thing we would have to deal with. Our bowlers need to get use to the bounce and you need to hit the right lengths as early as possible and make use of the practice matches for that."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on December 12, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    @Naresh28: Yes India made mistakes in selection for 2 injured players from the original squad. Rahul Sharma & Irfan Pathan should have been the replacements. These 2 are potential players to be in XI. Rahul is an ideal bowler for the Australian wickets. I would rate him #1 Indian spinner in OZ land above Ashwin & Ojha. Rahul is accurate, bowls fast >90 KPH, for a leg spinner, has a googly,top spinner & is ouncy. Why on earth India dropped him is a mystery.He was the man of the hour. Irfan is an all rounder & an excellent fielder. His inclusion will mean a batsmen @#7 + good swing bowler+ excellent fielder.The Selectors had 2 chances to include these 2 but they failed.Now India XI has to be 7 batsmen + 3 seamers + 1 spinner. There is no chance for a second spinner unless one of the seamers or a batsman is dropped - both unwise moves.If Selectors had a plan of playing XI, they could not have made such blatant mistakes - No all rounders. Mithun & Vinay are bench guys - for injuries.

  • Naresh28 on December 12, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    @dravid_gravitas I agree with the five bowler policy. Except instead of one spinner take two spinners (our strength)If ZAKS fails due to fitness, the selectors will have to turn to IRFAN PATHAN. Play Zaks, Ishant, Yadav, Ohja and Ashwin. It is a pity Rahul Sharma is not selected in the squad to Oz he is a wicket taking bowler. tradionally India has gone in with 4 bowlers One of Laxman, Dravid, or Tendulkar should make skip a game so that Rohit blends in with the two seniors in eachj of the games.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 11, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    India SHOULD go with 5 bowlers - 4 pacers and 1 spinner. Ashwin is no regular tailender. He bats really well after coming so down in the order. That should help us in going in with 5 batsmen + Dhoni.

  • on December 11, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Nagrag Goolapudi the author of this article has got it wrong Zac is not a medium pace bowler, last I checked he bowled fast/medium...... Correct me if I am wrong.

  • Lord_Tendulkar on December 11, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    Zaheer when fit is a class bowler and troubles left handers a lot so should be a handful bowler in Aussie conditions that favour fast bowlers...Ishant was superb in Australia and the conditions will support him too..Yadav has pace and will get good bounce...should be a fun contest in Australia given their weak bowling this time !!

  • RandyOZ on December 11, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    I rate Zaheer but I don't see him lasting more than a test. The rest of the pace attack without Praveen is useless. Ashwin is a danger though.

  • manisacumen on December 11, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    No doubt our bowling resources are thin. We need our batsmen to score mammoth everytime. Sehwag and Gambhir have to get the double tons alternately. They are crucial to india's success or failure. India have the best batting opening pair for the first time in australia after 1986. Gauti and viru have to be at their best and their failure (both at the same time) means india will surely fail. The fab3 at the twilight of their career cannot come good once too often.

    I still predict a 4-0 win for india based on our batting strength and hoping that Zak, ishant and Umesh destroy the aussies along with ashwin. I would back ashwin for the lone spinner ahead of ojha. We need tailender batsman also

  • NRI- on December 11, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    Aaron, India's fastest bowler, should be given a chance to show his fitness again in two weeks time so he can still get there in time for the 2nd test. Yadav, Aaron, Zaheer and Ashwin would have been the perfect attack. Australia's fastest, Cummins, is also injured so that evens it out.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 11, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    If Zaheer is fit, he'll be a menace to the present Aussies who are struggling. I hope he isn't lying. He would have been a menace to the English as well. Well, we can't change the past. But at least we can plan for the future. I hope he is really fit.

  • crindo77 on December 10, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Ironically, in this young Indian team, the best examples of fitness are to be found in its ageing stars. Sachin, nearly 40, playing NON STOP for the last 22 years. Dravid late thirties, playing for the last 14. Still fit. Elsewhere, Wasim Akram, a DIABETIC, amazing fitness. Kapil Dev, ditto. Varun Aaaron, one test, what... 3 ODIs, and he's already got MAJOR injury problems. Ashwin already looks a bit plump in his midriff; and he's running like the 2nd Inzamam. After 2 years we will be back to Bharti Aruns era.

  • Nampally on December 12, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    @Naresh28: Yes India made mistakes in selection for 2 injured players from the original squad. Rahul Sharma & Irfan Pathan should have been the replacements. These 2 are potential players to be in XI. Rahul is an ideal bowler for the Australian wickets. I would rate him #1 Indian spinner in OZ land above Ashwin & Ojha. Rahul is accurate, bowls fast >90 KPH, for a leg spinner, has a googly,top spinner & is ouncy. Why on earth India dropped him is a mystery.He was the man of the hour. Irfan is an all rounder & an excellent fielder. His inclusion will mean a batsmen @#7 + good swing bowler+ excellent fielder.The Selectors had 2 chances to include these 2 but they failed.Now India XI has to be 7 batsmen + 3 seamers + 1 spinner. There is no chance for a second spinner unless one of the seamers or a batsman is dropped - both unwise moves.If Selectors had a plan of playing XI, they could not have made such blatant mistakes - No all rounders. Mithun & Vinay are bench guys - for injuries.

  • Naresh28 on December 12, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    @dravid_gravitas I agree with the five bowler policy. Except instead of one spinner take two spinners (our strength)If ZAKS fails due to fitness, the selectors will have to turn to IRFAN PATHAN. Play Zaks, Ishant, Yadav, Ohja and Ashwin. It is a pity Rahul Sharma is not selected in the squad to Oz he is a wicket taking bowler. tradionally India has gone in with 4 bowlers One of Laxman, Dravid, or Tendulkar should make skip a game so that Rohit blends in with the two seniors in eachj of the games.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 11, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    India SHOULD go with 5 bowlers - 4 pacers and 1 spinner. Ashwin is no regular tailender. He bats really well after coming so down in the order. That should help us in going in with 5 batsmen + Dhoni.

  • on December 11, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    Nagrag Goolapudi the author of this article has got it wrong Zac is not a medium pace bowler, last I checked he bowled fast/medium...... Correct me if I am wrong.

  • Lord_Tendulkar on December 11, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    Zaheer when fit is a class bowler and troubles left handers a lot so should be a handful bowler in Aussie conditions that favour fast bowlers...Ishant was superb in Australia and the conditions will support him too..Yadav has pace and will get good bounce...should be a fun contest in Australia given their weak bowling this time !!

  • RandyOZ on December 11, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    I rate Zaheer but I don't see him lasting more than a test. The rest of the pace attack without Praveen is useless. Ashwin is a danger though.

  • manisacumen on December 11, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    No doubt our bowling resources are thin. We need our batsmen to score mammoth everytime. Sehwag and Gambhir have to get the double tons alternately. They are crucial to india's success or failure. India have the best batting opening pair for the first time in australia after 1986. Gauti and viru have to be at their best and their failure (both at the same time) means india will surely fail. The fab3 at the twilight of their career cannot come good once too often.

    I still predict a 4-0 win for india based on our batting strength and hoping that Zak, ishant and Umesh destroy the aussies along with ashwin. I would back ashwin for the lone spinner ahead of ojha. We need tailender batsman also

  • NRI- on December 11, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    Aaron, India's fastest bowler, should be given a chance to show his fitness again in two weeks time so he can still get there in time for the 2nd test. Yadav, Aaron, Zaheer and Ashwin would have been the perfect attack. Australia's fastest, Cummins, is also injured so that evens it out.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 11, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    If Zaheer is fit, he'll be a menace to the present Aussies who are struggling. I hope he isn't lying. He would have been a menace to the English as well. Well, we can't change the past. But at least we can plan for the future. I hope he is really fit.

  • crindo77 on December 10, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Ironically, in this young Indian team, the best examples of fitness are to be found in its ageing stars. Sachin, nearly 40, playing NON STOP for the last 22 years. Dravid late thirties, playing for the last 14. Still fit. Elsewhere, Wasim Akram, a DIABETIC, amazing fitness. Kapil Dev, ditto. Varun Aaaron, one test, what... 3 ODIs, and he's already got MAJOR injury problems. Ashwin already looks a bit plump in his midriff; and he's running like the 2nd Inzamam. After 2 years we will be back to Bharti Aruns era.

  • on December 10, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    well according to me , zak will be fit and will play all test matches.. Mithun is an average test bowler , but in one day , he is useless, umesh yadav may cause some trouble to aussies. Ishant will do great

  • thames400375 on December 10, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    if ZAK does not make for the first test, it will be the one of the most inexperienced attacks ever

  • on December 10, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    siri but chaminda vass was more mediocare because srilanka has produced only one world class fast omg lolll truddlers malinga only one daybowler bowls yorker

  • stickypointer on December 10, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Irfan with his current form and with his experience and batting ability and better manipulation of the ball on bouncy wickets would have been a far better pick for Australian conditions. Vinay may have been better in english conditions on the contrary. I feel that is would end up as a major constraint if Zak doesn't come up good. Definitely, a glaring error in selection on paper.

  • on December 10, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    @krnatraj honestly, how can you be so pessimistic ? We all are aware that our players fitness is not as good as the aussies. But still , make no mistake that more or less the same team has been challenging the aussies in last few series. If you compare both the teams in last decade or so, this it the best chance our team stands to surprise them. We should grab it with both hands......precisely the reason why I wanted Rahul Sharma to be on that flight......

  • ABP235 on December 10, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    I fell Praveen Kumar's absence will hurt us most, because to get wickets you dont need to be just express fast (see Kemar Roach for example), but you need to move the ball just that much as to get wickets with or without pace (see Rampaul for example). Zaheer's availability may be a boon, but it is much a risk and a problem for India. With so many injuries in the past in his younger days in mind he is certainly a liability more than an asset. His presence takes away the spot for a talented bowler, since another hot & cold Ishant Sharma will take the second pacers spot. That perhaps leaves just one more, assuming that is Yadav and the lone spinner to be Ashwin, we are going to live on very thin resources! Irfan's presence is therefore very important as that could have helped us to go with 5 batsmen, three guys who can bat in Dhoni, Irfan and Ashwin and then you can have 3 bowlers, which gives us 5 bowlers option - even if a Zaheer breaks down, we wont need a batsman (or Dhoni) to bowl!

  • on December 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    what happend 2 zak in eng jst becoz of ipl..pld 2 many matches..sa series then worldcup then ipl..but nw he is looking fit..watchout for yadav..he is getting better n better can swing,cut,n bowls at 145..i feel yadav wil be surprize package for aus..zak,yadav,ishant n ashwin nw thts some bowling..only wrry is backup bcoz there wont be aaron n pk..vinak kumar is useless..dinda would have been better choice..india wil win 2-1 or 2-0..i hope pace trio stays fit..

  • on December 10, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    I think Australia will mop up India wining 4 tests to nothing!.. Australia are tops-look how india farede in England. From Ron

  • henchart on December 10, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    @krnataraj : what you wrote makes sense.Among the Indian top order Dravid and Tendulkar seem best suited for consistency on Australian pitches.Sehwag is fickle and Laxman on the wane .Gambhir has to find form sooner than later.But ,if one looks at past records on Aus pitches -Dravid failed in 99-00 ,did well in 03-04 but was mediocre in 07-08.Somehow on bouncy pitches Laxman does better while Dravid is good on seaming English pitches.Tendulkar ,ofcourse,can bat even on ice and is cut above the rest.Indians need to post big totals for their inexperienced bowlers to defend.Zaheer Khan is past his prime and not fully fit.Better play Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin in all the matches.Third seamer is going to be dud for Indians anyways so why play him at all?

  • on December 10, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    best of luck to zak, hope v do well

  • Vilander on December 10, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    only kannadigas support Vinay, we need Zaheer to fire.

  • Vpx23 on December 10, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    THE WAY THE AUSSIES ARE PLAYING NOW THE SELECTION OF VIJAY SEEMS TO BE WARRANTED BUT SURELY IRFAN OR EITHER SREE COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER BETS EITHER IF FIT OR DISCIPLINED. AUSSIES ARE DEFINITELY HAVING PROBLEMS FACING GENUINE SWING BOWLING

  • on December 10, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Welcome Sahir. We hope you deliver Down Under.!Congratulations for your Speedy recovery.All the best to you! In the latest Onedayer I expected Irfan also to deliver at the right time! But he didn't get chance! .perhaps he gets at Chennai.in INDORE it didn't matter at all as Rahul Sharma& great Sehwag did the job perfectly! But Down Under your presence should be felt more than any other time as your Good Bowling could help the MotherLand to recapture the the#21 rankings in Test Cricket!So once again Best of Luck! SreedharanMundanat

  • krnataraj on December 10, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    all this talk about indian team would do well is pure hypothesis. the fact remains that our top five batsmen must play well to atleast ensure atleast aseries draw. our bowling is going to be taken to the cleaners barring zak and if he is in form. it would be foolhardy to underestimate the aussie team in australia(playing infront of their home crowd is also an advantage). their pace attack of pattinson (who reminds me of mcdermott),siddle and cummins if he gets over his injury are not pushovers. very simply our batsmen must get a good score in each of the innings to help the inexperienced indian bowling attack try and put some pressure on the aussie batsmen. last but not the least the tour is a long one and the fitness of every player is going to be tested. if at all india wins the series then it can be counted as a bonus.

  • on December 10, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    Wats dis So many haters of ZAK..... Only because of ZAK and Viru India were able to intimidate the opposition one series without either of them fully fit in England we were shown the rout still u guys say ZAK is not world class .... can u guys describe wat world class is .on present situation only steyn is better than ZAK.... The time wen we need to back our best bet to win Australia .... some here are saying that he shouldnt be selected wat shd he do to prove his fitness is fielding for 170 overs not enough.... if anything unfortunate happens to ZAK in aus that could be due to any new injury... I believe he will be fully fit for whole series and win as the series in AUS.....

  • atul2884 on December 10, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    Guys, lets not doubt the talent of ZAK, we have seen his takent in lot many ocassions, lets support him. I would say ZAK should be given chance along with YADAV and vinaykumar in the practice matches so that all of these can get the rythm and then decide on who should be played on the BOXING DAY

  • WeeBee on December 10, 2011, 10:58 GMT

    hehe! Now watch he is gona do the same on this tour, on 2nd spell's second over's second ball , he is gona unfit ...

  • on December 10, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    In England you had some part of your body torn. Hope this time your body holds out in OZ. Wish you all the best and hope to see you make sure India wins in OZ at last!

  • akbarbirbal007 on December 10, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Zak is no yak..he wont make any difference to the outcome of aussie series...he was there too in the previous tour did he made that count.if he doesn't remain fit he will have to go the nehra way..no one is indispensable.There are a new crop of bowlers coming up and bcci should invest on them bowlers like aaron,yadav,mithun,arvind,tyagi,dinda,pathan,praveen kumar The should get over the likes of zaheer,nehra,rp singh,sreeshant,munaf.

  • Manu.mANU on December 10, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    I saw comments on Oja ohh please guys he is the best left arm spinner available. Lets play himm all amtches as the aussies always had problems with left arm spinners...

  • on December 10, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs , dude sehwag was not fully fit, u know wat happened to gambhir and sachin also was sick in one match. and at d end harbhajan also got injured

  • kmgnath on December 10, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    Zahir started feeling the heat now, He was taking easy all the time, thinking he is the best, now there are new bread of faster bowlers coming in, who can really bowl at high speed. The youngsters have shown, they not only can bowl fast, but line and lenght. In critical times zahir was match unfit(England, in Australia last time), now he has to be match fit to be in the hunt. Look at srisanth, Once everyone thought, he is the future, but lost track and unable to comeback(could be Injury/Dicipline/Attitude). Now Zahir can't laze around, he has to be fit and on the edge. Since newer Pace bowlers life span on the cricket field is less, its is better for india to churn more of them, rather than hanging for match unfit seniors. Unless they is no other option.

  • SanjivAwesome on December 10, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    Zaheer, I am 50:50 on whether you are truly fit. Your historical breakdowns due to your physical limitatations, on Aus tours, changes the ratio to 80:20 that you will return to India before the tour. You are fortunate the ageing Indian selectors have a policy to select according to past performance!

  • siri1234 on December 10, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    omg zaheer to make a difference in australia lmao.zaheer is just a mediocore bowler who is highly overrated because other bowlers of india r worse than him.agreed he is the best bowler in india but according to international standard he is just average.

  • on December 10, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    Shrinath is still a thousand time better than these so called indian fast bowler,s ,,, Zak and Srinath were the best fast bowlers,,,, Vinay,,mithun,, what they are,,on a serious note just a club level material... still we have them in the team,, Srikanth is such a great man,, a huge heart he has,,, anyone who bowl,s around 75miles/h can get selected,, just be good to srikanth,, he is like a king who help the poor immensely,,, ZAK,,

  • ratedstfu44 on December 10, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    Australia dont have bowlers like england. So, im sure they would do well.

  • on December 10, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Irfan pathan has got enough chances, atleast give vinay kumar one-tenth of it to prove himself

  • kingcobra85 on December 10, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    we have irfan pathan even if zaheer isnt fit. So I dont selectors should take a change. If he gets injured like the lords test then India has to play with one bowler less throughout the test match which will be hard. Dont take players word. Sreesanth, Harbhajan all said they are fit before selection now everyone is not playing ranji and resting

  • on December 10, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    @ Ravi N Prasad. what do you mean by thank god indian fans do not wish to call javagal srinath and venkatesh prasad. you know one thing. srinath, alongwith zaheer, was the best ever bowler india had ever seen after kapil. think before commenting anything.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 10, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    @Deenesh Like it or not, India in England was full strength but ONLY missing Zaheer Khan. They might have not all played together but individually they all failed (except Dravid). Think about it, Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Raina, Harbhajan, Ishant, Praveen, and Sreesanth all played. Other than Zak, who else do you want in the team?

  • johnathonjosephs on December 10, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Zaheer is like 34 and for a fast bowler that is the end of the career because of injuries. I sense a retirement coming up sometime next year

  • on December 10, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    they have to take Irfan pathan for the Tour of Australia

  • on December 10, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Bouncy Aussie wickets is what will be challenging for the Indians. .... Their young bowler should fully exploit the conditions. ... It won' be easy but a test of nerves & determination. ... Come on Team India, we are lookin' forward to a great Series. !!!!

  • on December 10, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    why are people still wanting pathan and agarkar in the team, they clearly are over the hill bowlers, a couple of performances in the ranji matches hardly changes things, thank god they do not want javagal srinath and venkatesh prasad in the team, come on guys grow up, give the youngsters a chance, we just should wish them the best and hope they perform well.

  • Sarangarajan on December 10, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    The words from Zaheer about his fitness sound familiar to what he said before the now infamous England tour. Let us hope that he is really fit to last a gruelling tour.He should really know about his fitness better than any other.We only hope he doesnot walk out from the filed as he did in the first test in England.All said and done, we have to look forward to days ahead without Bhajjis and Zaheers.

  • on December 10, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Several of fans are suggesting to select Irfan Pathan to the Australia Tour. As the team is already announced, it may not be possible to select any player, unless some fast/medium bowler is injured. Even in that case, the selectors will send Nehra, Sreeshant and Munaf. Even if Irfan is selected, he wlll not be in the playing XI. Why all this futile discussion?

  • Sudarshanj on December 10, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    I think india should keep zaheer's back up ready. Every one knows he's not going to last for 4 tests. He's selected just because even half fit zaheer is much better than our next best bowler ishant. Even if he plays 2/3 tests for india, he would've done enough.

  • on December 10, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    This is my prediction..India will play Zaheer, Ishant and Umesh Yadav for first 2 test and then drop Umesh for Vinay kumar who will come to his own in the 3rd test. Series 1-1. Remember that Vinay has the mos recent experience in Australia among all these bowlers having played in the Emerging players tournament. How many of you know that he was the leading wicket taker for India in this tournament with 11 wickets from 3 matches. Go Vinay..All the best!

  • henchart on December 10, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    The guy is a spent force.He cant match the rigours of a full test tour and is going to bowl cannon fodder for Watson,Warner ,Ponting and Clarke.Hussey will milk the life out of his bowling.2-1 Australia.

  • annikkett on December 10, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    I really doubt if this is the best 17 we could use to trounce aussies. Exclusion of Harbhajan is fair enough as Ashwin has done enough to claim the best spinner spot in India. But I would have loved to see a surprise package of Rahul Sharma instead of Ojha. Practically speaking, we are not going to include 2 spinners at any venue other than SCG. Then why not have a bit of surprise package ? Inclusion of Vinay Kumar is again dazzling as Irfan had peaked at the right time & given his history in Australia, he would have been a handful. I think the batting line up picks itself. I hope that I am proven wrong & this team does achieve a marvellous victory. All the best Indians......

  • on December 10, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    With Varun out I really hope Zaheer doesnt get injured again. A full strength Indian Team ( dont know when i last saw tht) can win anywhere in the World against any opposition (except maybe the AUS of old )

  • couchpundit on December 10, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    Good to know he feels comfortable with his fitness, although it was the same case when he started English tour, we know how he finished that tour.

    All the best stay fit, you are the only hope in otherwise pathetic pace bowling attack of Indian Team

  • sankar8000 on December 10, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    This is Good news for Team India! Zaheer, Ishant and Umesh can rock aussies.....

  • Longmemory on December 9, 2011, 22:39 GMT

    Zak's whole focus seems to be do to do enough to get on to that plane to Australia. Maybe the focus should shift to "what will I do once I get there" ? The build-up to this tour is not very promising. Zak's fitness to play three hard tests back-to-back looks very dicey. Ishant has not been among the wickets even in ideal conditions (as in England) and his fitness isn't proven either. Vinay and Mithun are medium-paced trundlers who will cop a lot of stick on the big and hard grounds in Australia. And newbies Ashwin and Ojha bring up the spin department. Our fielding is unathletic and catching reliable at best. Its h hard to see how we can bowl out the Aussies once, let alone twice in a match. The batters will be under constant pressure because of the huge scores they will undoubtedly be facing. I think its best to brace ourselves for another royal hiding down under.

  • zico123 on December 9, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    we beg of you selectors pls replace Mithun and Vinay Kumar with Irfan Pathan and Nehra. Irfan have to be on the flight to Australia, pls pick him when he is in good form, if he is ignored like this, he will slip up again, if he is picked who knows he might find old touch and will resolve India's allrounder vacancy

  • zico123 on December 9, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    Ishant Sharma should watch video clips of his bowling from his debut Australia test tour and recent test tour in West Indies, if he hits pick form, Australia is in trouble

  • zico123 on December 9, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    after surprisingly Irfan pathan's was ignored twice by selectors, Indian bowling fate will completely depend on Zaheer Khan, he has to lead from the front, Zaheer, Ishant and Umesh Yadav have to form a fearsome trio to demolish Australia, it would have been great if Irfan Pathan was in the side too, but Vinay Kumar and Mithum are no good in Test matches

  • satanswish on December 9, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    Poor fitness!! What one can say about these modern day bowlers.

  • ooper_cut on December 9, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    Zaheer has worked hard this time around, hope he can make an impact in this series. This is very important for the team as well as for him.

  • TRAM on December 9, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    Selectors/Dhoni, please include RahulSharma and let him play with Ashwin & Ohja in the 11. This spin trio is far more lethal than any 3 fast bowlers from India however fit they are. Let there be 5 bowlers in the 11 PLEASE Zaheer, Ishan/UYadav, Ashwin,Ohja AND RahulSharma. You have 6 batsmen plus Ashwin as also-bat, that is enough batting depth. There is no way Ind medium pacers are going to run through Aus, where as each of these 3 spinners are match winners.

  • IndTheBest on December 9, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    @chilled_avenger - I do understand what you are saying! We can't expect our selecters to treat Zaheer the Australia could do to McGrath becasue we don't have bowling support unit as Ausies used to have in Lee, Warne or Gillespee etc. When you see Vinay Kumar and other new bowler, we just accept Zaheer 'As is'. It doesn't matter whether he is broaken, half-fit or full. I know it's pitty but it's real.

  • on December 9, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    it's a good sign for teamIndia.zaheer himself declared ully fit

  • on December 9, 2011, 19:08 GMT

    he will as long as he plays!

  • on December 9, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    Zaheer is definitely needed on Aussie's turf. Hopefully he will stay injury free, and give his best performance...since India is going with a inexperienced bowling attack, his role in the side has become much more important.

  • SamRoy on December 9, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I am pretty certain that he is going to be a big impact for India when he breaks down either in the first or second test vs Australia. He's never reached the 3rd test in Australia and for the last 2 years has not played a 3 test series away from home fully fit.

  • sameer997 on December 9, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    india has got to manage him properly.perhaps something like malinga

  • xylo on December 9, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    @chilled_avenger: It is not that all things are the same for Dale Steyn and Zaheer Khan. There are a number of things that could be different for them right from their birth - genes, childhood diet, childhood exercise, amount of pesticides that went into their body, and so on. It is as simple as comparing yourself against a peer who is not the same as you in terms of health.

  • PruthviNath on December 9, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    waats goin on d minds of d selection commiteee............ surely a gamble.. who else need to be inkured to get irfan in... why do bcci conduct ranji trophy if they don't trust its results,... urfan has rocked the ranjies n been offered a dolly of 2 odis, n ignored,,,, UuUuuuuUh hard luck in many ways,...

  • on December 9, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    No two people are the same and its unfair to compare Zak with Steyn. Zaheer will regain his rhythm slowly as there are two more practise matches. India needs to make the most of those matches. Good luck for boxing day PS. BCCI need not indulge in any of the one test nonsense suggested in one of the posts.

  • dariuscorny on December 9, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    @gaurav vishal why u guys are more than satisfied with 135 k speed?infact they shud be encouraged to bowl continously over 145k to 150k as Aus conditions act like catalyst to a pacers pace.raw pace can unsettle the best lot

  • Vpx23 on December 9, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    NOT SURE A 34 YEAR OLD BOWLER LIKE HIM WHO HAS ALWAYS BROKEN DOWN CAN LAST THIS GRUELLING TOUR DOWN UNDER. ONE THING WILL BE IN HIS FAVOR ARE THE PRESENCE OF FEW MORE QUICKS THAN THE LAST TOUR. FEW SHORT DECISIVE SPELLS SHOULD BE THE CALL OF THE DAY. HOPE DHONI MANAGES HIM WELL. IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THAT.

  • chilled_avenger on December 9, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    It has always been a great puzzle for me that how can someone like Dale Steyn who not only bowls much faster(which is physically more straining) but also bowls a little more overs per Test match than him maintains his fitness while Zaheer is barely able to play two consecutive Tests! Zak should take a cue from McGrath who after suffering a career-threatening injury at the age of 33(Zaheer too is 33 currently), bounced back as perhaps a better bowler! We should also remember the Aussie selectors' decision,who gave McGrath supposedly one Test on Come-back to prove his worth or otherwise retire! The result? Glenn picked up 5-37 & the MoM award in that Come-back test. Though I doubt our Indian selectors would show such a policy regarding Zaheer!

  • on December 9, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    Lets hope he stays fit atleast till stepping on that flight to australia, so much Ado over nothing.. He is the sole reason for the low Morale of our team in England, others also didn't perform thats another issue but u dont have a chance when your lead attack is out, then where is the impetus to perform, otherwise the Indian Batting order would have chewed and Spat the English bowling.. Lets hope that he atleast stays fit and helps the juniors down under

  • on December 9, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    Its a good news for India as having Ishant bowl with Umesh and Aaron would have been a very risky proposition. Now its good that Zaheer will be there as he can share his experiences with younger lots. I would like to see Umesh open bowling with Zaheer instead of Ishant. Now we can say we have three bowlers above 135k speed Ishant, Varun and Yadav. All the best India

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  • on December 9, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    Its a good news for India as having Ishant bowl with Umesh and Aaron would have been a very risky proposition. Now its good that Zaheer will be there as he can share his experiences with younger lots. I would like to see Umesh open bowling with Zaheer instead of Ishant. Now we can say we have three bowlers above 135k speed Ishant, Varun and Yadav. All the best India

  • on December 9, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    Lets hope he stays fit atleast till stepping on that flight to australia, so much Ado over nothing.. He is the sole reason for the low Morale of our team in England, others also didn't perform thats another issue but u dont have a chance when your lead attack is out, then where is the impetus to perform, otherwise the Indian Batting order would have chewed and Spat the English bowling.. Lets hope that he atleast stays fit and helps the juniors down under

  • chilled_avenger on December 9, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    It has always been a great puzzle for me that how can someone like Dale Steyn who not only bowls much faster(which is physically more straining) but also bowls a little more overs per Test match than him maintains his fitness while Zaheer is barely able to play two consecutive Tests! Zak should take a cue from McGrath who after suffering a career-threatening injury at the age of 33(Zaheer too is 33 currently), bounced back as perhaps a better bowler! We should also remember the Aussie selectors' decision,who gave McGrath supposedly one Test on Come-back to prove his worth or otherwise retire! The result? Glenn picked up 5-37 & the MoM award in that Come-back test. Though I doubt our Indian selectors would show such a policy regarding Zaheer!

  • Vpx23 on December 9, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    NOT SURE A 34 YEAR OLD BOWLER LIKE HIM WHO HAS ALWAYS BROKEN DOWN CAN LAST THIS GRUELLING TOUR DOWN UNDER. ONE THING WILL BE IN HIS FAVOR ARE THE PRESENCE OF FEW MORE QUICKS THAN THE LAST TOUR. FEW SHORT DECISIVE SPELLS SHOULD BE THE CALL OF THE DAY. HOPE DHONI MANAGES HIM WELL. IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THAT.

  • dariuscorny on December 9, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    @gaurav vishal why u guys are more than satisfied with 135 k speed?infact they shud be encouraged to bowl continously over 145k to 150k as Aus conditions act like catalyst to a pacers pace.raw pace can unsettle the best lot

  • on December 9, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    No two people are the same and its unfair to compare Zak with Steyn. Zaheer will regain his rhythm slowly as there are two more practise matches. India needs to make the most of those matches. Good luck for boxing day PS. BCCI need not indulge in any of the one test nonsense suggested in one of the posts.

  • PruthviNath on December 9, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    waats goin on d minds of d selection commiteee............ surely a gamble.. who else need to be inkured to get irfan in... why do bcci conduct ranji trophy if they don't trust its results,... urfan has rocked the ranjies n been offered a dolly of 2 odis, n ignored,,,, UuUuuuuUh hard luck in many ways,...

  • xylo on December 9, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    @chilled_avenger: It is not that all things are the same for Dale Steyn and Zaheer Khan. There are a number of things that could be different for them right from their birth - genes, childhood diet, childhood exercise, amount of pesticides that went into their body, and so on. It is as simple as comparing yourself against a peer who is not the same as you in terms of health.

  • sameer997 on December 9, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    india has got to manage him properly.perhaps something like malinga

  • SamRoy on December 9, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    I am pretty certain that he is going to be a big impact for India when he breaks down either in the first or second test vs Australia. He's never reached the 3rd test in Australia and for the last 2 years has not played a 3 test series away from home fully fit.