CA Chairman's XI v Indians, Canberra, 1st day December 15, 2011

Zaheer targets Australia's swing weakness

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Australia's difficulties against the swinging ball, to be addressed by a remedial batting clinic in Melbourne next week, have offered a tonic to Zaheer Khan and the India bowling attack.

Zaheer is not playing in the Indians' opener against a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI, but he spoke enthusiastically of his preparation for the upcoming Test series against batsmen unnerved by the sort of swerve his bowling can possess.

"It is definitely encouraging as a bowling unit [that Australia are struggling against swing], our strength as Indians has always been swinging the ball," Zaheer said. "That's what we're going to rely on here as well, even though the wickets here will offer bounce, we'll still be trying to use the swing of the ball, so hopefully we'll be able to extract some swing in the matches to come.

"As a bowler it is all about getting into the right areas. If you're hitting the right lengths and able to get the ball moving then you're going to trouble any batsman in the world if you get those channels going."

Zaheer, 33, has not played for India since suffering a hamstring tear in the first Test of the series against England at Lord's in July, and subsequently underwent ankle surgery, which made his selection for Australia conditional on the basis of some solid Ranji Trophy appearances. Having fulfilled the selectors' wishes, he is now on course to lead the line against Australia.

"I've definitely had a lot more time to prepare as far as this series is concerned," he said. "I feel I've done everything possible to get here, and very happy with the way things are going personally for me. Happy with my rhythm in the nets and a bit of match practice will help me.

"It was a long flight for us so it is important we get into rhythm. I got to see a bit of bowling, I am happy with the way the whole approach has been, and I'm looking forward to playing the next one myself."

The need for Zaheer to be fit is increased by the fact that Ishant Sharma's left ankle may again be giving him grief, though loose ankle strapping was the explanation offered by a team official for a brief and interrupted appearance at the bowling crease on day one of the tour match. Wes Robinson, one of two local centurions, said Ishant had bowled well enough in his two brief spells.

"He seemed to be getting through it okay," Robinson said. "He only bowled that one over first up and then I think he went off for some treatment, and then he came back and bowled a few overs, so he got them through okay. Obviously hadn't faced him before so I don't know if that's his quickest or whether he's just warming up into it but he certainly got them through a bit."

Zaheer described Ishant's withdrawal as "just a precautionary measure", and preferred to speak about the promise shown by Umesh Yadav, who took three wickets on a batsmen's day.

"It is very good to see someone bowling like that, I've been mentioning back in India it is good to see him bowl 140kph plus, which is really important. I'm sure the wickets here are going to suit his style of bowling because the wickets are going to provide that extra bit of bounce.

"It is still early days for him, and the more he plays the more he is going to learn, so it is all about exposure at this level, and I'm sure with time he'll learn more things."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NairUSA on December 18, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    Now, when Zak says something about swing bowling, we need to listen. He is definitely one of the craftiest of the swing bowlers in the world now. Team India can hope to topple the brittle Aussie lineup only if the supporting seamers can rise upto the occasion. As of now, the new seam lineup have more to prove rather than appearing to be incisive. In this lineup, it is interesting to note that only Vinay Kumar offers a swing option (slower version) compared to others. Let us hope Team India's batsmen piles up runs so the bowling weakness is compensated.

  • zenboomerang on December 17, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    @Apoorv Pandey..."after 10 mths englishmen remember 5nil against aussies"... ... You should get your facts right as should others who have misquoted the same on other posts... Aust v Eng - 4/1 to Oz in England 2001... 4/1 to Oz in Oz 2002-03... 1/2 to Eng in UK 2004... 5/0 to Oz in Oz 2006-07... 1/2 to Eng in UK 2009... 1/3 to Eng in Oz 2010-11... So no whitewash like India received in UK... Also over 10 years Australia 16 wins to Eng 9... & 5 draws... India v Eng over the same period... India 5 wins to Eng 6... & 8 draws... Pretty boring cricket where draws out score both wins & losses... No wonder Indian fans don't turn up to watch Test cricket live...

  • dummy4fb on December 16, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    these pakistanies are speaking about india last test won in australia 95 lolll humiliation after humiliation atleast past ten years india competitive and wins win in perth 2008 and sachin scored centuries in every test series in australia only batsmen with brain and dravid scores in allconditions not a odd century every time look at inzimam dismal recored in austrlia and if pakistan has that great bowler why they dont win in aus dude dontbe in dreams lolzzz days are gone of wasim waqar shoaib chucker was irractic bowler brett lee debut after shoaib see his record awesome in tests and odi also look at this year sachin scored two hundred in asouth africa ponting 3 ducks even dale andmorkel were playing test cric after 10 mths englishmen remember 5nil against aussies just wait for 9 mths humiliation coming in india like 5 -0 in one day

  • dummy4fb on December 16, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    @DINESHCC: Forget about that, the reverend SPD Smith recently conceded 25 runs in 2 overs.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 16, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    CONTINUE .... AND ONE MORE THING DO YOU B/W 2000 & 2006 SA & AUS PLAYED 13 TESTS IN WHICH SA WON ONLY ONE TEST OTHERS WERE DRAWN OR AUSSIE WIN . CLEARLY THAT WAS THE AUSSIE PRIME TIME . AT THAT TIME SA WITTH KALLIS FAILED TO WIN BOTH HOME & AWAY AGAINST AUUSIES WHILE INDIA WIN AT HOME BY 2-1 ( CHENNAI TEST TENDULKAR CLASSIC 155 , KOLKATA TEST DRAVID - LAXMAN CLAASIC), AND DRAW IN AUS BY 1-1 ( LAST TEST MATCH SACHIN MADE 241 NOT OUT ) . YOU KNOW THE REAL REASON WHY TENDULKAR IS GREAT PLAYER BECAUSE AT THIS AGE OF 38 YEARS AND 8 MONTHS HE IS STILL PERFORMING LIKE HE PERFORMED WHEN HE WAS IN HIS PRIME IN 1990S .AT THE END I HAVE TO SAY KALLIS IS GREAT ALLROUNDER BUT NOT GREAT BATSMEN THAN SACHIN .

  • LillianThomson on December 16, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    I was wrong in my earlier comments. Zaheer will stay fit and bowl twice as well as his previous Test average in Australia of 40. Ishant took six Test wickets at 60 last time in Australia - so much for exposing Ponting - and now that he is 20 kmh slower and bowling on one leg he will obviously improve that too. Plus there is Ashwin, because last year in Australia Graeme Swann averaged a magnificent 40 runs per wicket. Those averages would be great for batsmen in Australia. But that is India's bowling benchmark. Indian contributors to this thread are quick to mock Australia's batting, but India recently drew 1-1 in South Africa just like Australia, so the two teams' batting is obviously similar. The figures I've just quoted should make India worry about the pie-chuckers they expect to bowl Australia out! Zaheer was average when he was at his peak - across the border Pakistan currently has at least five more incisive fast bowlers, 3 of whom aren't even currently in jail.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 16, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    @JONATHANJOSEPHS . YEAH I ALSO SAW THAT COMPARISON ON TV WHEN MIKE HAYSMEN & RUSEL ARNOLD WERE COMPARING KALLIS TO COMBINED TENDULKAR & ZAHEER . BUT MIND YOU SACHIN ALSO HAS 18000 ODI RUNS 7000 MORE THAN KALLIS AND HAVE 150 ODI WKTS & 100 TEST WKTS . ALSO ZAHEER BOWLS MOSTLY IN SUBCONTITNENT CONDITIONS WHERE IT IS HARD TO TAKE WKTS FOR FAST BOWLERS . ALSO CHECK KALLIS RECORD AGAINST THE AUSSIE ATTACK OF MACGRATH , WARNE , LEE IN THEIR PRIME YOU WILL SURELY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE B/W THESE TWO PLAYERS . SACHIN SCORED EVERYWHERE OVER THE WORLD , ALSO HE PICKS WKTS BY HIS DIBBLY - DOBBLY SPIN AT SOME CRUCIAL MOMENTS .AND ONE MORE THING WHICH I NEVER UNDERSTAND THAT SA HAVE SOME GOOD PLAYERS FROM THE BEGGINING LIKE DONALD, POLLACK , KALLIS , KIRSTEN , STEYN , SMITH THEN WHY THE HELL THEY HAVEN'T WIN ANY ICC TOURNAMENT WHICH INDIA HAD WON 4 ( 1983, 2002 CHAMPINS TROPHY SHRAED WITH SL , 2007 T20 WC , 2011).

  • DINESHCC on December 16, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    PRASANT_NSW: YOU FORGOT TO ADD ONE NAME. SPD.SMITH WHO IS ABLE TO TAKE 25 WICKETS IN A TEST MATCH

  • raag21 on December 16, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    If the English think that they can whitewash India in India with a Brothwick or a Bairstow...Well, you've seen what happened. You think gud ol' Bressnan can get the job done by himself? think again. Dont you think this is gonna happen again in UAE v Pak? Pak spinners may look gentle but are ruthless..The English are in for a treat.

  • No1_Jon on December 16, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    From a neutral's perspective, this series will be close, very close. The Aussie batting is a concern with only Clarke in any sort of form. Also there's been lots of talk about the Indian pacers, but i think that the Indian spinner ojha could be a key player given Australian troubles against the spinning ball. My prediction, a drawn series.

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