England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 1st day July 21, 2011

Zaheer suffers hamstring strain

There is no still clarity on when Zaheer Khan will be fit to play, but after the way he had England's batsmen on a string on the first morning at Lord's, India cannot afford to lose him
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Zaheer Khan has suffered a hamstring strain, but the status of his availability for the rest of the first Test and the series remains unclear. Zaheer underwent an MRI scan and is unlikely to bowl in the remainder of England's first innings, though he has not yet been ruled out of the entire Test, according to the Indian team management.

It is understood that Zaheer was cramping in the dressing room after he limped off midway into the third over of his third spell. He was attended to by the Indian team physio, but team manager Anirudh Chaudhary did not confirm if Zaheer left the ground to undergo any scans. Meanwhile, Duncan Fletcher, the India coach, was also non-committal on how long Zaheer would be out for. "It was quite a loss for us at that stage as he could have got us that third wicket and even more the way he was bowling," he said.

Fletcher would have loved for that to happen as it would have been a nice way to celebrate his hundredth Test as coach of an international side. But he did not want to be drawn in by the media concern over Zaheer's injury and its possible impact on the match and the rest of the series. He would only say it would be wise to wait till tomorrow before talking about the future.

The injury was an unfortunate incident that is bound to affect the predictions for the series because till he went back to the dressing room Zaheer was simply unplayable. Everyone had anointed him India's lynchpin and his contests with Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were the ones the full-house at Lord's sat quietly in anticipation of.

Zaheer did not disappoint. He came into the match on the back of going wicketless in a practice game against Somerset, followed by light training - stretching and conditioning mostly - sessions in the two days leading up to the Test match.

It would not be an overstatement to say Zaheer is currently the most complete seam bowler in the world. Dale Steyn might be at the top of the ICC's Test bowling rankings but he relies on uncompromising pace and away movement to trap his victims. Zaheer's skills are more varied: he can swing the new ball both ways, also cut the old ball both ways, and then cup the ball when it is roughed up on one side to reverse swing it. He does all that while using the crease and bowling from both over and around the wicket. The batsman never knows what Zaheer is thinking.

Just like bowlers stay away from engaging men like Sachin Tendulkar in verbal jousts, batsmen do not like engaging themselves in a duel with Zaheer. England would know that better than anybody after Zaheer flattened them at Trent Bridge on India's last tour in 2007, picking up nine wickets after being riled up by the jelly beans incident. Back then he had been England's bugbear, bowling unplayable lines from around the wicket to overwhelm them.

In his first spell of this tour he had both England's left-hand opening batsmen on a string. Cook had already been left guessing by Praveen Kumar, who started off with two exquisite deliveries that moved away from the left-hander. Zaheer's ploy was more complex: he drew Cook out by bowling outswingers and then suddenly darted one into him. He then caught Cook off guard with a delivery that straightened on leg stump.

Strauss was far from comfortable at the other end. Zaheer had understood that the surface was slow and he had to pitch the ball a little fuller. He teased Strauss with varied lengths, keeping the England captain vigilant. Interestingly, Zaheer kept a deep square leg in for Strauss throughout, but bowled only two bouncers. Strauss is usually very good at picking the right delivery to go after. But Zaheer's steepling bouncer in his second spell surprised him and he hurried into his pull, and was gone after having spent nearly two hours at the crease for just 22 runs.

With the last ball of the same over Zaheer nearly got Jonathan Trott to edge a delivery that shaped away from him. Zaheer appealed though he knew there was no contact. He just wanted to make sure Trott, who has been freakishly consistent since making his debut for England two years ago, was aware who was calling the shots on the day.

After lunch, Zaheer kept England under intense pressure; he bowled 5.3 overs without a run being scored off the bat. Trott and Kevin Pietersen had to endure tight lines and teasing lengths, and had to be careful they did not play too early or too late.

In his third spell Zaheer charged in from around the wicket, hiding the ball in his palm as he ran in. The first ball was bowled fuller, at Pietersen's toes. The next delivery he went wide of the crease and got good away movement. Pietersen chased and was lucky not to edge. For the last ball Zaheer changed to over the wicket. Pietersen did not move his feet and played a fuller, angled delivery from his crease. It was clear Zaheer had Pietersen worried.

Testing the batsman's patience is good but one of the most important virtues Zaheer possesses - one that is key to success in Test cricket - is patience. As Mike Atherton observed from the commentary box, Zaheer is never in a rush to get his men. He works them out in spells. He is willing to play the waiting game. Perhaps, he gets some sadistic pleasure out of playing with his catch, having already hooked the bait.

Fletcher can remain stone-faced, act unworried, but underneath even he knows that if India have to maintain their No. 1 Test ranking they need a fit Zaheer back.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 23, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Bring Sreesanth in, He can bring win for India

  • Dr.Hasan on July 23, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    @Jairam Amrith: oh so ZK strained his hammie trying to overstrech on the delivery stride then ? Thanks for the clarification :D :D

  • jrm1186 on July 23, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    This is not the first time when Zaheer has done this. By playing in this match as an unfit bowler, he has rather put more burden and more pressure on the other bowlers. India anyways play with only 4 regular bowlers and now they've got only 3!! This was the same situation in the 3rd test of SA vs Ind test series when SA came to India. Zaheer couldn't bowl on the most important last two days of the match. Thanks to Bhajji, Ishant and Ojha, that India could still pull it off. What an unprofessional cricketer Zaheer Khan is!!!

  • bhaloniaz on July 22, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    Dale Steyn may statistically overtake any fast bowler. Even a fit Zaheer may not be as good as Srinath let alone be the best fast bowler. Walsh is skillful, but he is not as good as Ambrose or Marshall. Marshall is skillful and he destroyed anyone in any wicket. Only skill is not enough, be able to use it to execution (wickets/match, strike rate) is much more important. I am a big fan of Zaheer (he is almost like Akram). For example Akram is even more finished bowler than Zaheer. (Akram is more consistent is bouncers/short balls and yorkers). I would never pick Akram over Hadlee, McGrath, Marshall or Waquar. Stats is not everything. People can debate whether Akram was a better bowler then Waquar. But how can you compare a guy who is taking less than 4 wickets per games with one who is taking almost 6 wickets per game.

  • on July 22, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    Message to Indians: When a cricket series happens, all the money goes to the host country. So every cricket board is begging India to come play in their country. They will reciprocate by playing more matches in India. India bailed out New Zealand and Sri Lanka boards out of debt with just one tour. So in essence the money is coming from India and is being split even bewteen India and other countries. So BCCI, came up with IPL to solely capitalize on the cricket craze of billion ppl. So if IPL grew and played for 6 months, all the Indian 'Cricket Money' stays in India. This will surely affect the meaningless short ODI's series' and other cricket boards. But we wont be at loss. In 2009 BCCI split the IPL income 25 cr each to 25 state boards. It is doubled for 2010 .Double it again if u add the income from other matches and Champions league. Where do u think the money is going? For building infrastructre and to the players.

  • MaruthuDelft on July 22, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    @Shiv1011, I like that. I am ashamed I didn't say that. Yeah now we must support India big time. Criticisms later.

  • JChandi on July 22, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    England 441/7 and going well, this is what we call minnow bashing!!!

  • cric_fanatics on July 22, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    @ Ayaz Noor M...article is pro india..?...so is the ICC..what you gonna do about it..?...nothing...stop cribbing..

  • on July 22, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    The stupid bcci should hav given all senoir players rest after the worldcup,But they pressed them to play the rubish ipl for just commercial purposes.India performance in westindies questions wether they are no1.Zaheer was instrumental in previous english tour test series win.

  • on July 22, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    Spot on BCG and Dravid_Gratias, If Steyn wasn't better than all the rest of them then why on the earth would the God Sachin would say that Steyn is the best bowler he has faced in his such a long career. If Zaheer was to be better than Steyn then Zaheer would be the best in the last 22 years. Is it so ? Then what is the point of debate. I admit that Zaheer has improved heaps and bounds in these years but that doesn't mean that he is a complete bowler. So many times he gets injured in the middle of a series, moreover he doesn't have a better stat than Steyn either home or away. Why are you comparing guys. Compare Zaheer with someone else Steyn is incomparable as is God Sachin(Batting Wise). Kallis is the most complete cricketer, now please don't start another comparison now.

  • on July 23, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Bring Sreesanth in, He can bring win for India

  • Dr.Hasan on July 23, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    @Jairam Amrith: oh so ZK strained his hammie trying to overstrech on the delivery stride then ? Thanks for the clarification :D :D

  • jrm1186 on July 23, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    This is not the first time when Zaheer has done this. By playing in this match as an unfit bowler, he has rather put more burden and more pressure on the other bowlers. India anyways play with only 4 regular bowlers and now they've got only 3!! This was the same situation in the 3rd test of SA vs Ind test series when SA came to India. Zaheer couldn't bowl on the most important last two days of the match. Thanks to Bhajji, Ishant and Ojha, that India could still pull it off. What an unprofessional cricketer Zaheer Khan is!!!

  • bhaloniaz on July 22, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    Dale Steyn may statistically overtake any fast bowler. Even a fit Zaheer may not be as good as Srinath let alone be the best fast bowler. Walsh is skillful, but he is not as good as Ambrose or Marshall. Marshall is skillful and he destroyed anyone in any wicket. Only skill is not enough, be able to use it to execution (wickets/match, strike rate) is much more important. I am a big fan of Zaheer (he is almost like Akram). For example Akram is even more finished bowler than Zaheer. (Akram is more consistent is bouncers/short balls and yorkers). I would never pick Akram over Hadlee, McGrath, Marshall or Waquar. Stats is not everything. People can debate whether Akram was a better bowler then Waquar. But how can you compare a guy who is taking less than 4 wickets per games with one who is taking almost 6 wickets per game.

  • on July 22, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    Message to Indians: When a cricket series happens, all the money goes to the host country. So every cricket board is begging India to come play in their country. They will reciprocate by playing more matches in India. India bailed out New Zealand and Sri Lanka boards out of debt with just one tour. So in essence the money is coming from India and is being split even bewteen India and other countries. So BCCI, came up with IPL to solely capitalize on the cricket craze of billion ppl. So if IPL grew and played for 6 months, all the Indian 'Cricket Money' stays in India. This will surely affect the meaningless short ODI's series' and other cricket boards. But we wont be at loss. In 2009 BCCI split the IPL income 25 cr each to 25 state boards. It is doubled for 2010 .Double it again if u add the income from other matches and Champions league. Where do u think the money is going? For building infrastructre and to the players.

  • MaruthuDelft on July 22, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    @Shiv1011, I like that. I am ashamed I didn't say that. Yeah now we must support India big time. Criticisms later.

  • JChandi on July 22, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    England 441/7 and going well, this is what we call minnow bashing!!!

  • cric_fanatics on July 22, 2011, 16:55 GMT

    @ Ayaz Noor M...article is pro india..?...so is the ICC..what you gonna do about it..?...nothing...stop cribbing..

  • on July 22, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    The stupid bcci should hav given all senoir players rest after the worldcup,But they pressed them to play the rubish ipl for just commercial purposes.India performance in westindies questions wether they are no1.Zaheer was instrumental in previous english tour test series win.

  • on July 22, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    Spot on BCG and Dravid_Gratias, If Steyn wasn't better than all the rest of them then why on the earth would the God Sachin would say that Steyn is the best bowler he has faced in his such a long career. If Zaheer was to be better than Steyn then Zaheer would be the best in the last 22 years. Is it so ? Then what is the point of debate. I admit that Zaheer has improved heaps and bounds in these years but that doesn't mean that he is a complete bowler. So many times he gets injured in the middle of a series, moreover he doesn't have a better stat than Steyn either home or away. Why are you comparing guys. Compare Zaheer with someone else Steyn is incomparable as is God Sachin(Batting Wise). Kallis is the most complete cricketer, now please don't start another comparison now.

  • Yolk_Eater on July 22, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    I just want to say two things. 1) When the author says that Zaheer can be called the best, he might be correct by just analysing his performance over the last 2-3 years. I know that Steyn is far better a bowler than Zaheer, but only when you start comparing stats of their lifetime career. Forget that, and watch the match, and then you can say, that if not better, Zaheer is definitely there. So guys, please forget the stats in this case.

    2)Kallis better than Sachin because he played on greentops?? Well, he did. But Sachin Tendulkar has scored numerous tons on green pitches too, he is no newbie like many of you here

  • merabharatmahancric on July 22, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    First of all guys throw the bajji out of the team!!! What good he is doing to the team!! Give other spinners an option to play and he is not taking wickets for such a long time!!!

  • m_ilind on July 22, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    No Sehwag, and now no Zak, India in trouble already!

  • kdigu on July 22, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    @IndnCrktfan - If India cannot take 20 wickets, how does Dhoni have the best Win Ratio....All those wins by taking less than 20 wickets?? Your logic defies any rationality. And to all those who say India havent won in Australia, and have only managed to draw series in SA ...A few questions. 1)When did SA last win a series in India? 2) Australia finally managed to win in India in 2004.

    Right now England, SA and India are all capable of being number 1. All three havent done anything to dominate like Australia and West Indies. But to say India doesnt deserver Number 1 spot, but SA or England does is Crap. Why dont u guys explain why you thing a different team deserves the Spot instead of shouting India doesnt. If India doesnt who does and WHY?

    I for one think this England team is Very good, and if (i think it will) it defeats India, it will rightly deserve the Number 1 ranking. Till then the rankings say India...so India it is.

  • on July 22, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    this article would have been a lot better if it presented a neutral view! "It would not be an overstatement to say Zaheer is currently the most complete seam bowler in the world. Dale Steyn might be on top of the ICC's Test bowling rankings but he relies on uncompromising pace and away movement to trap his victims. Zaheer's skills are more varied: he can swing the new ball both ways, also cut the old ball both ways, and then cup the ball when it is roughed up on one side to reverse swing it. He does all that while using the crease and bowling from both over and around the wicket. The batsman never knows what Zaheer is thinking. Just like bowlers stay away from engaging men like Sachin Tendulkar in verbal jousts, batsmen do not like engaging themselves in a duel with Zaheer." this particular passage seems very pro-india / pro-zaheer!

  • Angad11 on July 22, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Come on guys cheer up. Fun has just begun. Dont start criticizing the team and also the selection process. Ofcourse Zak is a huge blow, but look at the +ve side if we can win without him. So pls our team needs our support now not criticism. GO INDIA.

  • Amarjitmadan on July 22, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    Team Management and Zahir will be mighty pleased to have unearthed a golden arm in the shape of Parveen Kumar to give the opening bowler some brilliant support in swinging conditions.Good luck Zahir and co:.

  • muski on July 22, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    Naseer Hussain made a critical point during commentary. Eng nourishes its bowlers and make sure that they dont play too much country cricket. If India are to retain their No1 status , the BCCI should help our bowlers. They are not to be treated like donkeys with overload all the time. Zak in this case I don't think visited the BCCI hospital ( NCA) before taking the flight to Eng.Maybe this is a Godsend for someone like Sreesanth or for someone like Irfan Pathan ( if BCCI picks him) to enhance their reputation. Harbhajan has wasted his spot in the team. He does seem to be making it large- a large joker on the field who seems to have forgotten that he needs to use his brain.

  • tjsimonsen on July 22, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Well, I'll eat my prediction. Kumar seems not to be cannon fudder, but rather a very skilled artillerist.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 22, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    Having said what I said in my previous posting, I am a little bit surprised that England's run rate has never crossed 3 against this bowling attack. I thought Eng would go on tje attack here but no. That says a lot about this Eng batting. KP reached century at LORDS, congratulations. Not a very authoritative but a good one in any case. A century is a century and that too at LORDS. I hope one of these great Indian batsmen get their names ont he board as well

  • henchart on July 22, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    @Wacco : You spoke too soon .Ofcourse,Khan needs to be put on the first flight to India and never again selected.He has gone on tour half fit/unfit and as usual the Selectors ,headed by mediocre Chairman who is more keen on pushing his son through ,have been taken for a ride.

  • on July 22, 2011, 13:24 GMT

    Give Deepak Chahar a chance. He can be lethal in such conditions. Doesnt matter if he is rookie.

  • ansram on July 22, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    A team can't depend on one individual and claim to be number one. They are truly number one only if they win with a depleted side. This test is far from over and already opinions are flying around. India has an innate ability to come up from behind and they have shown this many a time. With or without Khan, this series will go down to the wire.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 22, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    @Jonathan; I completely agree with you. Being an Indian, I never thought India deserved to be #1 in tests. maybe 2 or a 3 behind Eng and SA. I knpow I will incur the wrath of my fellow Indians, but this aisa fact. Fellow Indians, think logically how can we be ranked #1 when we cannot take 20 wickets. Agreed, bowling has never been our strength, especially fast bowling. Look at what the WI did to us. We could not win the last test match just becuase we could not get Edwards #10 batsmen out. I hope the stron Indian batting bails us out at LORDS or else a white wash is certain.

  • Knights75 on July 22, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    Zaheer always gets "injured" against the top teams!

  • MaruthuDelft on July 22, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    India is never a champion team; I don't understand how other Indian fans twist their minds to say India is number one; Tendulkar is the greatest; fundamental dishonesty. India as a nation lack sporting aggression and rely on craft; craft would work only if you have threshold sporting aggression. My belief is we should eat beef big time to get wire in muscles which influences aggression of mind.

  • KingOwl on July 22, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    I don't think India are a one man bowling attack. They can still do well.

  • on July 22, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    zaheer is now out of match all players r thing ab kya kare

  • UniversalFriend on July 22, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    Guys, I C lot of bashing on Indian team if they r relly gud 2 be No1 team, if they dont hve good bwlers then they r not No1, etc.I wud like 2 ask,wat is the mening of No1 team.Under lay man terms (even intellectuals accept) the team shud beat all other teams, shud not lose (ocasinlly ok), shud show consistency in wining, shuld show comitment and determintn that they r there2 win but not2 loose, etc. Its not just abt 1 plyer r few players. If people think that Indiaz not gud if Zak is not thre then C all the reslts in last cople of years. Not every seriesz won bcos of Zak.It was team effort. Dou thnk McGrath wud alone hve made Aus invincible? They had bunch of gud bwlers. So its team efort. Dont discunt hard work guys, itz aprecable by any1. Dont criticse for sake of cricising& with hatred. Enjoy the game, give credit2 the teams who won and give comments constructively.last year SA fns also gave similiar bashing,cudnt accept SA didnt win seris.Dont hate 2 much. Hate loss but not teams.

  • Sudhakar86 on July 22, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    Bring in Deepak Chahar! It is the right time for him to be given a chance...

  • hawkeye30 on July 22, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    India looking very ordinary without Zaheer. These same Indian fans commented so much on SL being ordinary after murali, lasith, vass retired. India just lost Zaheer and they look 2nd to england already. Many more Indian players are to retire very soon in the likes of tendulkar, Dravid, laxman and yuvraj, harbhajan are all reaching the end of their careers. I would say Lanka performed well enough to finish 1-0 in the series. Don't see India saving any games. England will dominate this series. Don't see India getting 20 wickets as the bowling looks below average.

  • B.C.G on July 22, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    Dravid_Gravitas-Your spot on with your views.

  • Wacco on July 22, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    Now its clear: the hyped India 0 Eng 4

  • Vilander on July 22, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    BCCI is cutting the golden goose here. Marquee players of indian test side sidelined in some very important series' because of IPL overload and pathetic BCCI mismanagement and misplaced interests , if india loose the dominant rankings then interest in cricket will wane there are other sports in which india is fast catching up, they would eventually bite into the cricket viewership. But as a true indian cric fan it wont hurt me to see BCCI fall. I hate the BCCI clamour for money and power.

  • Vilander on July 22, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    Now india will have to try for 4 draws. it would be interesting to find who replaces him in the next test. the rest of the indian attack looked very flat to be honest.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 22, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    @rahulcricindia, I thought it was Dhoni who missed that straight forward second edge that Trott offered. Dhoni should have gobbled it when he went for it. He shouldn't have stopped mid-way.

  • JustIPL on July 22, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    Lets look at Zaheer's performance collectively on this tour so far. He toiled against a depleted county side in the first innings of that practice match that Indian fans like to forget and others like to cherish. In the second innings he did not come out to bowl while here at Lords he could only produce maidens in the very supporting conditions for the type of bowling he is known for. He generated two wickets but all the credit to English batsmen who denied any further blows. Like yesterday, india have to take run out chances seriously as the pitch will be conducive for batting in these conditions. At last he succumbed to the pressure he is in for the dependence of Indian bowling attack on his skills and is now injured. We all want to see him in the middle so that claims about his abilities are illuminated......

  • on July 22, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    If a team has to rely as heavily on one bowler as we are led to believe by this article, then they shouldn't be ranked number one in the world. To be top dog, a team needs to win with or without certain key individuals. In the WI, India were without a few too many of those key individuals and it showed against a very weak side. Looks like we are now going to find out whether they are really worthy of the top spot!

  • on July 22, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    I can see India really struggling to take 20 wickets without Zaheer, especially if the sky brightens and there is little or no swing. As an England supporter you might expect me to be pleased if he is out for a test or two, but I want the England team to battle and beat the best team in world - without Zaheer India don't look nearly so dangerous. It was a fascinating contest yesterday, despite few runs being scored - good batsmen battling intelligent bowling in tricky conditions, always good viewing. As for Steyn being "better" than Zaheer - they are very different bowlers. Zaheer is a clever and experienced bowler, who uses all the available options of in and out swing, the width of the bowling crease, coming round the wicket etc. Steyn uses sheer pace and movement. Each is better in different conditions and situations. Let's hope Zaheer is back soon so we can admire some more of his craft. And of course that England still win 3-1 :)

  • Wharfeseamer on July 22, 2011, 8:47 GMT

    So what if ZAK is "the most complete seamer in world cricket" (which he isn't BTW)? Even away from India he still averages over 30, takes less than an average of 4 wickets a match and has a pretty ordinary strike rate of 53. Steyn averages 23, more than 5 wickets a match and has the devastating strike rate of 39. ZAK may 'look' a complete bowler but results are what counts. I mean, Sienna Miller looks great but when it comes down to performance she is hardly Kathy Bates is she?

  • tjsimonsen on July 22, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @MaxMaverik: If Kallis hasn't BATTED on South African green tops, then clearly Steyn hasn't BOWLED on South African green tops either. Incidentially, I agree, South African wickets generally aren't green tops. And thus the only plausible argument for comparing Steyn and Khan goes down the drain. As for comparing their (and Anderson's) performances in the WC. Forget it. First of all, this is real cricket, not ODI. Second, it was just one (1) tournament. If you want to look at just one tournament/series, look no further than Styen's test perfrmance in India: 26 wickets @ 20.23!

  • YorkshirePudding on July 22, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    @rahulcricindia, please check the stats I think you'll find that Anderson has a better average than Zaheer in India, Zaheers average in India is 34.4, Andersons is 29.3. On top of that his SR and Economy is a lot better than Zaheers as well.

  • on July 22, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    Iff ZAK is outta series with hamstring-it wld be time to wake up Nehra & Irfan Patan & have them in England.Sreeshant could be useful support if he gets his MIND right!Munaf can fly back with Zak as he wont be much use in getting wickets.Praveen has to work up a lot more pace to be effective like the MadanLals & RogerBinny kinds in English conditions.Ishant has to get his lines correct & more importantly Dhoni shld get his field placements right-more aggressive!Good luck India......

  • on July 22, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    Zaheer's injury looks very bad... I don't think we can win the series without Zaheer... Now, let's see if Ishant steps up to the task

  • Tom_Bowler on July 22, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Just as an aide memoire to a few folk; Test cricket is played in white clothes with a red ball. It's the really difficult form of the game where the best players thrive. The World Cup is a limited overs tournament played in pyjamas with a white ball and how players perform there isn't really relevant to Test matches.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 22, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    @MaxMaverick, I'm a huge fan of Zaheer. Zaheer may be as skillful as Steyn or may be even better than Steyn. But I wouldn't let my personal fandom for Zaheer and my personal assessment of Zaheer's skills to prevent me from seeing who is the best. How can I ignore that one of the most important attributes of a fast bowler is fitness? Zaheer falls way short in that department. Every fast bowler is a package and should have several qualities. Steyn has all the qualities a Captain wishes in his fast bowler - guile, variation, pace and above all fitness to use those skills and coming out on top at the end of the day. I love Zaheer Khan. But please stop this comparison between Steyn and Zaheer. Steyn is the best that we can dream of in this age of dearth of fast bowlers. If Zaheer is fit, I would personally think he is slightly better than Steyn. But until such day there are no comparisons. BTW, what's this thingy about questioning knowledge of a fellow member if the opinions differ ;)???

  • rahulcricindia on July 22, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    @Dravidas_Gravitas..dravid cost INDIA the wicket of trott.....and few runs in the out feild....than people say india has a weak bowling lineup.....you know even the best bowlers can not get all the wickets without the help of feilders.....

  • vinchester on July 22, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Without Zaheer it becomes a no contest; England take the no1 spot comfortably. India slips to 4 if we dont have him for the down under tour also. Franklyin this Indian team there may be 1or2 who are 100% physically fit; the rest are carrying some niggle or the other which the mgmt is aware of but they are allowed to play hoping for the best.

  • on July 22, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Zaheer is a complete bowler and no doubt about it. I am not comparing him with any other fast bowlers. As far as India in concerned he is the key and when captain call him for bowling he lives up to expecations which we,lovers of cricket, expect a bowler to be. He should get well soon for a better cricketing show especially test matches...I understand the frustration of cricket fans on Zaheer palying IPL. But that is part and parcel of current Cricketer's life (earn money and fame). No comparisions with individulas as this is a team game and as a team India is prospering and I hope this to continue on all the pitches.

  • SUNILDASWANEY on July 22, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    INDIA IS CERTAINLY GOING TO MISS ZAHEER IF HE'S UNAVAILABLE AS HE WAS THE ONLY BOWLER WHO WAS TROUBLING THE BATSMEN REGULARLY.I FIGURE RP SINGH SHOULD REPLACE HIM.ASHWIN SHOULD PLAY IN FRONT OF INEFFECTIVE HARBHAJAN SINGH

  • Sakthiivel on July 22, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Why some many people are disappointed with Steyn comparison as Zak was rated a No.6 in test ranking.No need of Much hyping this issue. As Srilankan Fans are really disappointed and frustrated with Zak playing IPL. We will take care of IPL dont worry brothers. You just look out for SLPL.

  • rahulcricindia on July 22, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    @me54321..anderson better than zak.....biggest joke...remember what happened in WC ..jimmy was out of the team after bowling badly in three matches.....and look how zak bowled...i an sure that ..if england comes to india for four tests...jimmy will bowl so badly that he will be left out of the team for atleast two test for sure...he is a condition based bowler.....only green pitch bowler....he can never be great bowler......no way near zak ..thats the truth

  • Aussie_rulez on July 22, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    @B.C.G/Dravidas_Gravitas... Probably Steyn would have got better recognition, if he hadn't been a part of a chokers' unit...lol. Steyn may be pacy with accurate outswingers....that's all !!. Even a high school kid can easily see that Zaheer's got deadly variations with the new/old ball on green-tops or flat wickets...

  • sawifan on July 22, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    @MaxMaverik... my sympathies for your knowledge of cricket if you sincerely believe Zaheer is better than Steyn. Zaheer is a very, very good bowler, but Steyn is on another level all together. You mention the WC... thats ODI my friend, nothing to do with Test Match cricket, and if you know anything about the game you will know the differences these 2 formats will impose on a bowler. And if you want to include the WC, fine, but Steyn's overall career performances still outweigh ZAK's by a long shot. He has proven himself the best because of his performances everywhere. Once again, Zaheer = very, very good. Steyn = the best. Stop saying biased, ill-informed garbage for the sake of talking up your team. And i'm not a South African fan, just a cricket fan with an unbiased view.

  • on July 22, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    Zaheer is out and India is gone..........

  • on July 22, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    what has kallis done till now? no test match victory in chase..no world cup..and yes, even experts have said that he only relishes flat track..his record against the aussies is too low..33 avg i think..ha ha ha ha...and only one double century till

  • RFeynman on July 22, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas: Zaheer is indeed better than Steyn. He has proven time and again that variation and not pace is what the batsmen is worried about. Proof of that? Both Steyn and Zaheer played the WC 2011, check their performances. And as for Kallis light years ahead of Sachin, my sympathies with you on your knowledge of Cricket and ability to come up with such analogies. "Kallis bats on green tops of SA". When was the last time there was a real green top in SA? Poor Kallis had trouble playing on the flat tracks in the WC and Sachin's performance in the tournament.. you get the drift right?

  • Tom_Bowler on July 22, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Zaheer is a fine bowler who was a real handful with the overhead cloud but claiming he "had England's batsmen on a string" is a bit strong, looked to me like they were seeing him out and concentrating on picking off the rest of the attack. He got Cook with a good ball, good bowler beats good batsman, nothing wrong with that. He had some bad luck; Trott dropped, and also some good luck; Strauss gifting his wicket with a half-cocked pull. As I say he was bowling well but let's not over egg the pudding. Fingers crossed he recovers quickly.

  • on July 22, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    @Malay Samant:gosh wat ur up to man....zak is contantly improving even the home conditions never suited him...sachin perspective regarding steyn maybe different..he didnt face zak at international level...and u want him to comapare wid anderson,gul,jhonson:who just dont know how to use swing with proper pace..

  • AbAdvani on July 22, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Get Irfan Pathan back as replacement for Zaheer -What is SreeSanth doing in this team ? He was a big failure in 2007 in England and yet he is back in the Indian team and Irfan doesn't find a place even in the India-A team. English pitches are tailormade for Irfan's swing and he can contribute with the bat too

  • on July 22, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    @ Pranav Jainpura!

    Man, Have you been even watching Test Cricket for the past few years? RP better than Zak?!!?! If anyone has to be replaced, it must be Praveen.. Right Arm Slow..

  • Kashi0127 on July 22, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    I have a suggestion so that IPL kind of rogue elements do not impact quality players. No test players should be allowed to play IPL. However thats not fair as there is opportunity lost for making money for these class players. So out out of earnings from so called "players" or better term "entertainers" of IPL 10% fee goes to test players. This way test players are not impacted at the same time get paid a "royalty" for popularizing the sport. Lets face it IPL will not go away - however much one wishes for. This then is a win-win!

  • 200ondebut on July 22, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    I hope Zaheer gets better soon. Don't want any excuses when England beat India.

  • johnathonjosephs on July 22, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    ahhh the only lethal bowler of the indian attack is injured..... the attack is now toothless just how the sri lankans were toothless when nuwan pradeep and fernando got injured in the warm up games after performing extremely well and fernando came back in horrible form after recovery.... Welcome to our lives I would honestly laugh if praveen kumar's foot goes in the danger area one more time, because he then will be taken out of the attack and india will have ishant, harbhajan, and raina to carry the burden of bowling England out.... That aside, IPL really has killed cricket. Players put it above national duty now (look at Malinga [who "pretends" it only has to do with self preservation], look at Zak, look at Sehwag, look at Yuvraj [didn't tour Windies]). IPL must be stopped before other countries try emulating it. Lanka has already put forward the ludacris idea of SLPL, but I'm more afriad of countries like Windies who have guys like Allan Stanford to back the money up

  • YorkshirePudding on July 22, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    as a cricket fan its sad to see Zaheer out with a hamstring injury in only his 15th over, however one must question the selectors decision to pick Zaheer when he was obviously not 100% fit after the first innings at Taunton. Theres still a lot of cricket to be played and with the next couple of days being near perfect batting days both bowling units could suffer at the hands of the opposition batting units. As it stands at the moment without Zaheer India need to ensure a draw as the win is unlikely with only 3 front line bowlers to call on.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 22, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    @BCG, Lolll....well said mate! Absolutely. If anybody keeps saying that Zaheer is better than Steyn and all showing pitch reasons, then obviously Kallis is light years ahead of Sachin and Dravid as well because Kallis bats mostly on green tops in SA. On the mark BCG. Take a bow!!!! I loved your sharpness...

  • on July 22, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Shewag and zaheer Injuries....thats what IPL do

  • B.C.G on July 22, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    If Zaheer is better than Steyn because he bowls on flat pitches;that implies Kallis is better than Tendulkar as he plays most of his games on those very greenish wickets.Works in both directions you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In th World Cup Steyn bowled brilliantly.Remember Indians 5-50. S.A.'s batsmen lead their team down,while India's batting prospered.

  • B.C.G on July 22, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @fredie-Nagpur one of the most greenish wickets......really. So S.A. piled on 558 against Zak,etc,etc. on that green wicket right---great bowler

    Zaheer has taken just half his wickets in India at 36(wonderful).The rest in England,NZ,Bang.He is average v/s Right handed batsmen.How can he be complete is beyond me? Has Zaheer troubled Ponting,Kallis,Jayawardene,A.B,Amla,etc even once? Sten has troubled everyone from Sachin,Dravid,Sehwag to Cook,Gambhir,Gayle,etc.

  • on July 22, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    How in the world can u first compare zaheer to steyn , leave alone saying that zaheer is a bettet bowler that is the joke of the decade. It is an insult to steyn to compare him to zaheer. Wake up mr nagaraj, he is no where close to steyn skill or fitness wise

  • tjsimonsen on July 22, 2011, 6:44 GMT

    Well, yesterday when I left home in NW London early in the morning, I was seriously feeling like late autumn. That's how gloomy and miserable the weather was. At work (less than five kilometers south of Lords), I was looking out of the window around 10.30am and thinking that if there ever was a "win the toss and bowl" day at Lords this was it. Even allowing for all the time lost to rain and gloom, India's harvest was below pair, and I would say that England are somewhat (but not massivly) ahead. There's been some rain over night and the morning is chilly, so India will have the possibility to make early inroads. However, the weather is stunning and the day is promising to be one of the most beautiful in London for a long time. So if india do not make use of the conditions in the first hour or so, there may be a lot of chasing o' the leather later on. @spiritwithin: Heard about the last Ashes series? Anderson was pretty good then (in non-English conditions).

  • CRICSL on July 22, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    Play more IPL Mr. Zaheer why play for country if your body cant resist one innings??? When Playing IPL back to back matches no Injuries at all Because cant afford to do so since every wicket make money.. Funny this people and I don't know when this people will realize that....

    And someone said Zaheer better than Anderson.. Certainly he is in subcontinent conditions but not on English conditions. Anderson is way better bowler than Zaheer at home conditions... Anyway Good Luck India...

  • on July 22, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Zak is by the best fast bowler India has seen till date. He's more skillfull and reliable than Kapil Dev or Srinath for that matter.. And after Wasimbhai he s the best left arm bowler. He s surely there in elite panel of fast bowlers of this last decade. Anderson is good but needs to prove himself on all wickets.. Zak and Steyn have proved to be the bowlers who can be relied upon netime newhere.. Zak India needs you.. Get Well Soon..

  • Notredam on July 22, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Rp singh shud make a comeback..indian team..tooo good swing bowler..

  • Kashi0127 on July 22, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    I fail to ubderstan this 4 bowler attack in a team. India bosts of top class batsmen then why do we need 7 of them? Better balance would be to have a 5 bowlers, 5 batsmen and a wk. Keep in mindthe WK (Dhoni) is no buuny!

  • iamafreak on July 22, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    @Pranay Jaipuria - you must be kidding right.. RP was good long time back..He is no where as potent and dangerous as zak is. We already have PK in the gentle medium category..We dont need another one..I just wish zak a fast recovery.

  • vak1997 on July 22, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    zaheer khan usually suffers for injuries. he shud maintain his fitness. he the spherhead for India & is also a reason for INDIA BEING THE NO1 TEAM

  • Iyer on July 22, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Zaheer has always been a mediocre bowler, and is over rated by indian media. I do not care about his injury. At least it opens up the option to play sreesanth or amit. It is a blessing that he is injured. I wish harbhajan also gets injured. For India to save this series, their batsmen need to fire. It has always been like that for India.

  • on July 22, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    Anderson is good as Zaheer.... Man you should be joking. Zaheer is way ahead

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    With Zaheer injured what next srikanth will do.Take Mithun ahead of RP Singh and Irfan Pathan to replace injured zaheer.Srikanth has lot of faith on mithun more than RP Singh and Irfan Pathan.Srikanth never gave chance to RP and irfan.Nor will ever give them a chance.I hope Mithun does not replace zaheer in the crutial series.If Mithun is sellected the series is lost.If RP is sellected series could have been won.Mithun should replace Zaheer at any angle.

  • melvn on July 22, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Zaheer is a different bowler.Most of the fast bowlers have high pace and comparatively less swing,but Zaheer has low pace but more swing and accuracy. He hits the corridor of uncertainty regularly and swings the ball both ways. He troubled Hayden, Smith, Strauss even when they were in good form. They were not able to pick whether the ball the is coming in or going out.

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    Please replace zak wid RP Singh.... RP ban swing the ball better , has more bounse and is way quicker than zaheer, he can also exploit the english conditions to max extent, and was one of the most successfull bowlers last time we toured england in 2007, and also he can take ball away from right hander which will cause more trouble to front foot fanatics like KP & BELL more trouble....

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    no one give credit to Zak cuz he is a bowler from india, since indian cricket is basically known for batting but he is still proving the point that he is in for it and getting better... just like no one gives enough credit to SRT for playing with passion for over 20 yrs and ppl still call him a selfish and whatever player. i guess some ppl don't know how to appreciate what's out there.

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Zak, please don't get injured again...please please

  • maddy20 on July 22, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    @subbass Anderson? Dang dude! Is this in reference to cricket? LOL :D

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Trott should have been taken at 1st slip, another one sailed through vacant 3rd slip with the score at less than 50/1 - if you've put the other team in under clouds the slips have to grab everything that comes their way, and bowlers have to keep it up and test the driving length, 125/4 or 5 was there for the taking, that's how it looked to me via TV

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Zaheer is much better than anderson.only england fans think otherwise.anderson is a bowler who can only take wickets in helpful conditions.zaheer and steyn are the only bowlers who bowl well everywhere.when was the last time anderson bowled well in the subcontinent?just as a good batsman is expected to score everywhere,similar is the expectation from a good bowler.hope zaheer becomes fit soon.he does need to lose some weight.ion from a good bowler.hope zaheer becomes fit soon.he does need to lose some weight.

  • Asher_Jurgens on July 22, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Dale Steyn has the most lethal inswinger in world cricket at the moment. It is utter proclivity to say that Zaheer is the better bowler. An extremely good bowler yes, but not a great bowler.

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Written in anger , nothing else

    please note

    1.IF ZAHEER AND SHEWAG DOSENT PLAYED IN THE IPL

    WE WILL WIN THE SERIES AND RETAIN THE NUMBER 1 POSITION

    CLUB OR COUNTRY ,ARGUMENT CONTUINES BUT NO ONE WIL LISTEN

    IPL WIL CARRY ON , CRICKET MAD NATION KEEP WATCHING IPL AND ALSO PRAY GOD THAT NO ONE WILL GET INJURED

    BCCI IS REALLY STUPID ENOUGH TO CARRY ON THIS

    GAVASKAR AND OTHER PUNDITS DIDNT SAY A WORD ON THIS ONE

  • on July 22, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Good to see the loyalty of a Zaheer fan while reading this article. But rest apart the loyalty, Mr. Nagraj and my brother Indian fans please come out of illusion. Do you even realise what are saying Zaheer better than Steyn ??? You have forgotten Anderson, Umar Gul, Mitchell Johnson, Morne Morkel. First compare Zaheer with these guys. Steyn is somethiing else please don't show your lack of cricket knowledge, look at the stats there is a massive gap between those and did u listen to what God Sachin said in the interview before the match when Mark Nicholas asked him the most challenging moment in his life, Sachin said it was facing Steyn and Morkel and he regarded Steyn as the most difficult bowler he has faced during his career. That puts a full stop to this Zaheer vs Steyn nonsense debate.

  • CaptainBarbossa on July 22, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Now that Zak is injured, if England don't win this test, India will go on to win the series 1-0. You heard it here first.

  • B.C.G on July 22, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    If Zaheer is better than Steyn because he bowls on flat pitches;that implies Kallis is better than Tendulkar as he plays most of his games on those very greenish wickets.Works in both directions you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In th World Cup Steyn bowled brilliantly.Remember Indians 5-50. S.A.'s batsmen lead their team down,while India's batting prospered.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 22, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Zaheer Khan has no fitness, he is overweight and looks like a pumpkin. What's the point in being skillful and cunning with zero fitness? This is test cricket with 15 sessions not t20 with 4 overs. What's the point in not having your services at a critical juncture when the series opener is delicately poised, hanging by a slender thread? This is where Kapil Dev is at a totally different level. 1 session out of a total of 3? Kidding me? Shame. Hope he'll be able to be part of the remaining 12 sessions :(

  • on July 22, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Zak's injury makes me wonder what teh physios are doing? The only bowler in this side and inadequately tended to by the medical and fitness group.

  • Hashwanth_26 on July 22, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    You guys did not get what the writer was trying to convey. He never said Zaheer is the best when it comes to stats and numbers. He just said Zaheer is a much COMPLETE and skilful bowler when compared to Steyn who relies largely on pace, bounce and movement.Whether you guys agree or not, Zaheer certainly has more variations to combat the batsmen friendly pitches in sub-continent. I don't think Steyn will undo batsman by changing angles, or using the crease to good effect. He just bowls fast and accurate with movement, which is indeed not an easy thing. To make the ball move very much while bowling over 145 kmph is not a simple thing. That's why he is no.1. But it's not a latent fact Zaheer is a way more complete bowler with some additional tricks in his bag. Steyn maybe personally no.1 bowler in the world. But Zaheer has truly helped India to climb to no.1 spot. I value his contributions more to this no.1 achievement than Sachin's or any other players.

  • randika_ayya on July 22, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    can't fault a countryman for praising his prized fighter. Agreed that Zaheer is an excellent exponent of swing bowling, however saying he is the best in the world maybe going a bit too far. its great to see a good contest between bat and bowl thoguh! Hope he recovers and plays the series!

  • stambake on July 22, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    not a good news for indian fans as zaheer struggles in 1st day only, when he came back after long break... i hope zaheer will resume his bowling on 2nd day... it is important to maintain fitness level for all...

  • on July 22, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    Z Khan was one of the players who got injured playing in IPL. The other players were G Gambhir, Y Singh and V Sehwag. Also, because of the overdose of cricket since Nov 2010 which also included unnecessary IPL; S Tendulkar and MS Dhoni had to be rested. Every year important players like Sehwag and Zaheer regularly get injured in IPL and miss important series following it. I wonder what is that much need to play in this unnecessary low-levelled (Cricket played in IPL is actually of domestic level. Just compare the performances of IPL and international matches of the players like M Vijay, S Tiwary, A Dinda or U Yadav and you will accept that IPL has low levels of cricket. Indian heroes of IPL (except one or two) don't do that much well when given oppor. in the international arena.) tournament and getting injured regularly. India have to pay the price ultimately for that. Remember World T20 2009 and 2010 & tour of ZIM tri series in 2010, IPL injuries was reason for India's poor show.

  • fredie on July 22, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Anderson still has a long way to prove himself. Remember his world cup 2011 record

  • fredie on July 22, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    mr alex zak at this moment is the best bowler . zak has taken all his wickets on flat and lifeless pitches in india . just tell me one ocassion where steyn has ripped through a batting line up in asian conditions except nagpur(which was one of greenish wicket ever made in india) .So in all round skills he is THE BEST MAN

  • spiritwithin on July 22, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    @Alex Olson..Mr.Nagraj is calling zaheer as best based on his present performance(last 1.5yrs) just like india is no.1 in tests and world champion at prsent coz of their present performance..and did somebody called Anderson as better than Zaheer Khan??when was the last time Anderson bowled well without the help of typical english overcast condition??...without zaheer khan its difficult for india to win a tests but i dont see the english bowling lineup getting 20 indian wickets either...its either win for india(with zaheer) or draw (without zaheer) in the series...

  • Shanmughan on July 22, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    @ CSpiers Steyn may have a better bowling average in India.When u've only played a very small number of tests,the average looks good.One who follows these matches regularly cannoot agree to many things that are said here like ZaK is no way near Steyn.No,not in fitness or pace.But in terms of guile,craft and setting a batsman up,there is no bowler to better Zak.He is a gem.Ask Mike Hussey if you ve any doubts..!!

  • sat on July 22, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    my dear Alex Olson, i agree stein in one of the dangerous bowlers in world cricket today. But zaheer is not far behind. if u llok at the recent world cup in flat piches u can understand. othrewise if u ask greame smith or strauss 'who is the best bowler' then they will say surely zaheer

  • Shanmughan on July 22, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    Whoz this Anderson..???There is no way way belongs to the league of Steyn and Zaheer..God Speed..!

  • CSpiers on July 22, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    @shanmughan Steyn has a better test bowling average than steyn when bowling in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh AND Pakistan. Your point is completely farcical and not based on any facts.

  • me54321 on July 22, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    Ha, you'd think Zaheer could walk on water reading this report. He is a very good bowler, but really, suggesting he has more than Steyn, or even Anderson might be a bit much. Anyway, he's out now for this test, he wasn't fit before the game, he won't get any fitter any time soon.

  • retard_monkey on July 22, 2011, 2:18 GMT

    Huge blow...I don't think hamstrings heal within a day or two. If he has pulled or strained than he is out of the test for sure and in doubt for the second. Pity...as he bowled really well. Ishant, PK and Harbhajan will have their work cut out now in this test. If the sun comes out tomorrow, this pitch will flatten out and England will score a big total. Hoping against hope that it was just a cramp and he is okay!! Overall...a good contest between bat and ball on the first day, England did well to just lose 2 wickets, however PK passed Strauss' edge a number of times and had KP in all sorts of trouble. A bit unlucky India....but stick in there! Go India!

  • on July 22, 2011, 2:15 GMT

    Sorry to Indian fans but in no way is Zaheer better than Steyn, he isn't even as good. Just look at their records

  • on July 22, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    pack up guys..come back home...

  • on July 22, 2011, 2:12 GMT

    Seems like he has gained weight as well, no focus on fitness. I do hope he comes back or this series will be very one sided in favor of England

  • subbass on July 22, 2011, 2:02 GMT

    Anderson is just as good as Khan and not as fat and injury prone.

  • Shanmughan on July 22, 2011, 1:54 GMT

    If Zaheer can maintain his fitness,he is no way behind Styen.While Steyn palys most of his cricket in Green,juicy tracks in SA,Zaheer has horned his skills in flat pitches in Asia.He is much more an allround bowler than Steyn.The only time Seyn showed some quality outside SA was Ngapur,while Zaheer has lot of spells to show his dominance over Steyn.Atleast the World Cup proved who is the better bowler on Batsman friendly wickets in Asia.

  • on July 22, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    @Dr. Hasan, well at-least neither ZK nor PK were bowling deliberate no-balls, have you forgotten already :)))

  • sgopi on July 22, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    Zaheer is a blow for India, but there is enough players to seal a victory....question will the rains stay away?

  • kmgnath on July 22, 2011, 1:27 GMT

    this is not the first time, ZK has pulled out the series. No doubt ZK is strike bowler for india, and India miss his bowling for rest of the series(looks like, i know its too early to call on it). In down under, Ishant rose to the occation. This is something to do with fitness level and know hows of keeping the fitness up there. This clearly shows, just having the skill of bowling is not enough.

  • on July 22, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    Very funny.. "It would not be an overstatement to say Zaheer is the most complete seam bowler in the world at present.".. good to have a joke while we read..

  • yankeecricfan on July 22, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    Shame on you all! Why are you all insulting Zaheer? He is definitely one of the great seam bowlers today -- he has so many variations that can trick and fool the batsmen as we saw earlier today. Not only is he very talented, he is also greatly experienced. Zaheer and India will bounce back to win not only Lords, but also the whole series.

  • treaclepincott on July 22, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    As soon as I saw the Indian Team out on the pitch my first thought was, they are not the fittest. Especially Zaheer. Considering he is such a superb bowler and is prone to injury, it is not looking good, for his logevity. In this series and his career. Shame. Compare how fit the Indian team appears to the English team?????????!!!!!! Looks like Samit Patel would fit in well with the indian team.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on July 22, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    @phoenixsteve, did u say India being bowled out for 75 in such conditions? It's really surprising that you guyz are not tired of being over-confident? I see very few ENG fans thinking reasonably but u r completely out of scope. You can also say ENG makes 600-700 but no one cares. Similar hype for Strauss but he was out for 22 and you are saying pressure now. I know ENG has home advantage but give some break to ur imaginary world and think practically. Give some chance to Indains to play in ur imaginary world atleast.

  • smudgeon on July 22, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    So much depends on Zaheer, more than anyone else in the Indian side. And he seems to be injured a LOT (seriously, you'd have to question his fitness). It's all well & good to have a dream batting line-up, but if you can't take 20 wickets you're going to struggle to win...if Zaheer is out for the rest of the match (or the series), India will find it very very hard to beat England at home. Also, this article is a little over-cooked itself - Zaheer is good, but he's not THAT good.

  • on July 21, 2011, 23:52 GMT

    Steyn relies on pace and out-swing? I suggest you watch some more footage... Dale Steyn vs Ian Bell ring any notes? How about in Nagpur, where he castled two Indians shouldering arms to the inswinger? Steyn has all the tricks in the book... he is by the best all-round bowler we have seen in a while... and without Zaheer Khan, India's hopes will quickly dissipate... although the Lord's pitch should flatten up soon, therefore, with the rain delays, we should be able to move on 0-0 all...

  • Deepfreezed on July 21, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    India was always looking for a draw.

  • Dr.Hasan on July 21, 2011, 23:44 GMT

    Oh poor ZK probably over strained himself trying to match Parveen Kumar's pace :D ... *chuckle*

  • Alexk400 on July 21, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    India without zaheer khan will struggle like they did in west indies. Without zaheer it is going to be very very difficult for other bowlers to get 20 wickets. England gona grind India down. after 300 runs if england up the run rate and allow india to bat last 15 over f the day will be real good. India really lack strike bowlers. lots of support type bowlers. sharma, Munaf , PK , Sreesanth can take one or two wickets on thier day. that is becoming rare. Where is deepak chahar?

  • HatsforBats on July 21, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    What a joke. He's playing at the elite level of his sport and he goes into on of the most important matches he'll play with just 20 overs bowled in a warm-up game. Zaheer, Harbajhan, and Dhoni are all overweight. The fact that he is cramping or has a strain is no surprise, and is his own fault and the fault of the coaching staff.

  • demon_bowler on July 21, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    I thought something was up when Zaheer failed to reappear for Somerset's second innings the other day. He wasn't fully match fit, and this injury is probably the result of playing too soon after his previous injury. Rotten luck for him, let's hope it's not for the whole series.

  • on July 21, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    If zaheer is gonna b out of series,that could b the biggest blow to Indian pavelion..if zaheer is wicket taking machine ,bcci should think about run machine virender sehwag.....he can do demolism in zaheer's absence....

  • Sayedgee on July 21, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    "It would not be an overstatement to say Zaheer is the most complete seam bowler in the world at present. " If so, that would be a sad commentary on the state of seam bowling in the world at present.

  • sreesam on July 21, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    So the much hyped english batsmen brought down to earth by the Indian bowlers!! Sure Cook can score centuries against aussie bowlers, but he is no match for Zaheer.

    If not for Dravid's incompetence, England would have been staring down the barrel. Good to see the two saffas steadying the english ship yet again!!

  • himanshupillai on July 21, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    a big low for us... he was definately bowling an impecable line and length.... hope its not a serious injury... probably we shud not take a chance so early in the series and shud rest him as a preacautinary measure...

  • himanshupillai on July 21, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    a big low for us... he was definately bowling an impecable line and length.... hope its not a serious injury... probably we shud not take a chance so early in the series and shud rest him as a preacautinary measure...

  • on July 21, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    it was an interestings days play or half days play was good to see the bowling of india but i cant help think that without Zaheer it is very bare just look at the SA series when without them they got smashed around by kallis et al and were made to look ordinary. so without him the bowling as bob willis would put it would be 'buffet' bowling. if India want to retain their ranking as No.1 they need a fully fit line up. i would also like to have seen england bowling in these conditions you would think with the attack they have india could be all out nearly. jimmy anderson is deadly in conditions like these. just think if india have to put Zaheer out for 1 maybe 2 tests after today then who would come Sreesanth? no were neear the same quailty and india would have an ordinary attack in alien condtions so we could see a bit of rout . india maybe have to do alot of batting to remain in this series if there bowling do not stay fit COME ON ENGLAND and i see a 3-0 or 3-1 series win for england

  • JustOUT on July 21, 2011, 22:39 GMT

    Oh.. Mr. Nagraj, Well this is Eng vs Ind series and Zaheer is the main man. Good. No offence on Zaheer. But you cannot just like that throw away Steyn. Steyn is by far the best bolwer than anybody in this world, I am not saying this based on this No.1 ranking. Did you remember the 3rd day of cape town test, where steyn with relatively old ball made even the master batsman to listen to his varying movements at great pace. He has taken 5 for in all the countries playing in flatest of flatest pitches too.. You may be a big fan of Zaheer, but Check your Stats.

  • markatnotts on July 21, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    An intriguing day, some high class bowling from Zaheer who unfortunately had to go off. Sharma will I am sure find better rhythmn, he for me is getting closer to the form he showed terrorrising the Aussies at the WACA a few years ago. So whoever is writing off India's bowlers without Zaheer, don't! As for England, they played well, a couple of years ago we would have been five down by now, but there is much more steel these days. If the weather improves batting will get easier and easier as the match progresses (Lords pitches tend to die the longer the match goes on) so England will need a good start tomorrow. To summarise, it is very hard to predict this match or the series, but it is already looking like being a thriller. Come on England!

  • Jim1207 on July 21, 2011, 22:32 GMT

    landl47, Is saying that the other bowlers was all easily playable an exaggeration then? It's in the eyes of the beholder and stop criticizing. If Dravid had caught Trott's slip catch, Harbhajan would have got the wicket. It does not mean as you say that other bowlers are walk in the park.

  • on July 21, 2011, 22:26 GMT

    Why does this article have a section on Zaheer/Steyn comparison... one of Steyn's most impressive displays came during an injury against the West Indies back in 2007-8 (2nd Test in SA), where he bowled consistently at 132-136 kmph and picked up two 4 wicket-hauls... if Zaheer could bowl at 145+ he would, this form of chatter is mere non-sense... when Steyn ages and loses his pace, he will mould his gameplan and abilities... furthermore, Zaheer being left-handed gives him an advantage over all right arm fast bowlers... therefore, if you try to state why Zaheer is better or what-not... please don't demean Steyn's accomplishments and abilities... he stands on top of a heap of bowlers who average in their 30s and with strike-rates over 50... mere mortals.

  • the_blue_android on July 21, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    @ Phoenix Steve - Remember, Sri Lanka already left England shores. This series is India vs England.

  • cricket_for_all on July 21, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    If Zaheer plays two months in IPL what we can expect from him (just injury). IPL is costing India in long term for sure. We (Sri Lankan) lost Malinga due to IPL now india is loosing Zaheer so on.

  • serious-am-i on July 21, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    @phoenixsteve you dream too much mate. Let us see how many wickets Jimmy gets. If Zaheer is out of the test, it will be tough for India to win as they will have only 3 front line bowlers and out of which 1 is a spinner, here's where Ganguly would have been handy, had he been playing. Anyways, if Zaheer out, India will be happy to settle for a draw if not winning. If India needs to win other 3 need to raise the bars. May be the part timers of raina and tendulkar could also hold the key, who knows.

  • on July 21, 2011, 21:52 GMT

    I think zaheer will be fit about a week's time as he looks to have a level one hamstring strain so if he won't be able to bowl in the second innings of the indian innings, I am confident he will be fit for second test

  • landl47 on July 21, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    If Zaheer is out of this match India are going to be very hard-pressed to draw, let alone win. If he wasn't unplayable (a bit of an exaggeration from Nagraj), he was the only bowler to cause real problems. The others were all too playable on a day which should have massively favoured the bowlers. This highlights one of the differences between these teams and the reason why India won't stay #1 for much longer. England have Bresnan, Finn and Shahzad able to step in, with bowlers like Woakes and Harris just a year or two away. India have nothing like that quality in depth; if Zaheer isn't fit, they're really going to struggle. I hope for the sake of the series that this injury isn't too serious- whichever team you support, it's a real pleasure for any true cricket lover to watch Zaheer bowl.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 21, 2011, 21:37 GMT

    Oh dear... stinks of that Ashes series again when McGrath trod on a stray cricket ball and was ruled out, and England went on to win. Joyful for England and fans; worrying for India. Hope the weather picks up to allow play! Awesome start to the series. I really enjoy watching good bowling :-D

  • on July 21, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    Watching Zaheer bowl is a treat. He likes to outsmart the opponent. Look at his face and body language when has accomplished that. When he gets a wicket with batsmen's mistake, there is no discernible satisfaction just jubilation. When he outsmarts the batsman there is pleasure, ecstasy and nirvana.Parveen Kumar is similar, however, he is not as skilled as Zaheer. There is also a touch of misplaced arrogance in Parveen's body language.

  • masterollie on July 21, 2011, 21:28 GMT

    India, Indians and fans of cricket will be praying Zaheer has no more than a niggle at worst. I would be loathed to pass a judgement based on 50-odd overs in helpful bowling conditions, especially one as sycophantic as above (Steyn has all the tricks you have listed for Khan Nagraj, but he uses them all at greater pace and offers a threat on all but the flattest track). On today's evidence though, for all the supposed corners Ishant Sharma turned in the Windies, Khan remains India's most potent threat with the ball by some margin. If he is out for a bulk of the series, England, for all their skittish batting today, will feel they can boss India with the bat.

    It does seem odd in hindsight that Fletcher gave Khan such a minimal warm-up in the middle, especially given how injury prone he is and the length of time he's been away from the game.

  • cyclist00752 on July 21, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Well written ... it almost seems as if the author reads Zaheer's mind. So much for all the Tendulkar, Laxman, Sehwag fans ... Zaheer holds the key to India's No.1 and now even if he comes back he might not be the same.

  • on July 21, 2011, 21:08 GMT

    What's the official word? some say cramp, others say hamstring problem. I guess we'll find out tomorrow anyway...

  • mautan on July 21, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    This has always been the difference between Kapil and all those so-called sperheads of Indian attack. They can't even manage to stay fit for one full test, and it is not too much cricket by the way. If at all, they should have been undercooked. In such perfect bowling conditions, it was a very ordinary show. No wonder Zaheer has very ordinary overall stats even after playing for 11 years.

  • Finn92 on July 21, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    Take out Khan and India can say bye to the series victory

  • phoenixsteve on July 21, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    A fascinating if rain shortened first day. Ironic that India should win the toss in ideal bowling conditions and they bowled pretty well. It was the sort of conditions that you could well imagine India being bowled out for around 75 with Jimmy getting 7! Not to be though and credit to Trott/Strauss and Pieterson that they battled hard,Shame about Strauss's poor shot selection/execution which was a result of pressure. Runs were not easy to come by and thanks to some shoddy Indian fielding England are only 2 down? Tomorrow a days play and some more flambouyant batting might see England at around 400-450 which should be enough for another Innings win - unless conditions really change in the batsmens favour...To some this may have been seen as dull, but it was test cricket at it's best on a day when ball should have really dominated bat? If Zaheer is out of this game I can only see one side winning and the other's fans whining! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • 5wombats on July 21, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    Good article. Khan had it on a string today. But Anderson would have taken more wickets because there would have been more pressure for the other end, eg Tremlett. Disastrous for india if Khan is injured.

  • NavG on July 21, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    It was nice to see Zaheer bowling yesterday and to hear that he is suffering from hamstring is not good for Indian team and to veiwers around the world. Dont know if Zak did good preperation coming into the tests from rest. He should have concentrated a lot on his fitness as he is always prone to these niggles. Indian team do not have Viru in the team and injury to Zak put even more pressure on the batting line to pile runs and then hope for the best from the bowlers. Want to see India win the series. Go India Go........

  • Mephistopheles01 on July 21, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    He is absolute class. Without him India are stuffed. He is the best bowler in the Indian side, quite posibly on either side, and India desperately need him. If it brightens up tomorrow and England get 400, India could be in a bit of trouble.

  • Rahulbose on July 21, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    What a blow to India after asking Eng to bat first. Hope he recovers soon, the series will become a no contest without Zaheer.

  • khiladisher on July 21, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    THE RISE OF INDIA TO SUPER POWER STATUS IN CRICKET -THE #1 RANKING IN TESTS AND THE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS TAG IS DUE TO THE GREAT BATTING LINE -UP AS WELL AS THE ONE MAN BOWLING ARMY OF ZAHEER KHAN. HE IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST LEFT HAND BOWLER IN THE WORLD TODAY AND THE BEST SWING AND SEAM BOWLER- IF HE IS UNFIT FOR THE WHOLE SERIES ,THEN ITS TOUGH FOR INDIA TO HOLD ON TO THAT #1 POSITION AND IT LOOKS LIKE THE ENGLISH TEAM HAVE AN UPPER HAND AND MIGHT BE LUCKY IN WINNING THIS SERIES BOWLING BY OTHER BOWLERS AND FIELDING EFFORTS WERE BELOW PAR ON THE FIRST DAYAND LOOKS LIKE AS USUAL ITS UPTO THE GREAT BATTING LINE UP TO PERFORM IN EVERY MATCH.

  • rahulcricindia on July 21, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    zaheer want u back in the feild tomm.........hale and hearty...

  • on July 21, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    If Sehwag's injury was not enough, Zaheer's absence is surely going to be a real body blow for the Indian team. Great teams, however, overcome such obstacles. Will be quite interesting to see how this develops.

  • on July 21, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    Oh boy...But who knows may be now other Indian bowlers will step up and reputations will be made

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  • on July 21, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    Oh boy...But who knows may be now other Indian bowlers will step up and reputations will be made

  • on July 21, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    If Sehwag's injury was not enough, Zaheer's absence is surely going to be a real body blow for the Indian team. Great teams, however, overcome such obstacles. Will be quite interesting to see how this develops.

  • rahulcricindia on July 21, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    zaheer want u back in the feild tomm.........hale and hearty...

  • khiladisher on July 21, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    THE RISE OF INDIA TO SUPER POWER STATUS IN CRICKET -THE #1 RANKING IN TESTS AND THE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS TAG IS DUE TO THE GREAT BATTING LINE -UP AS WELL AS THE ONE MAN BOWLING ARMY OF ZAHEER KHAN. HE IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST LEFT HAND BOWLER IN THE WORLD TODAY AND THE BEST SWING AND SEAM BOWLER- IF HE IS UNFIT FOR THE WHOLE SERIES ,THEN ITS TOUGH FOR INDIA TO HOLD ON TO THAT #1 POSITION AND IT LOOKS LIKE THE ENGLISH TEAM HAVE AN UPPER HAND AND MIGHT BE LUCKY IN WINNING THIS SERIES BOWLING BY OTHER BOWLERS AND FIELDING EFFORTS WERE BELOW PAR ON THE FIRST DAYAND LOOKS LIKE AS USUAL ITS UPTO THE GREAT BATTING LINE UP TO PERFORM IN EVERY MATCH.

  • Rahulbose on July 21, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    What a blow to India after asking Eng to bat first. Hope he recovers soon, the series will become a no contest without Zaheer.

  • Mephistopheles01 on July 21, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    He is absolute class. Without him India are stuffed. He is the best bowler in the Indian side, quite posibly on either side, and India desperately need him. If it brightens up tomorrow and England get 400, India could be in a bit of trouble.

  • NavG on July 21, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    It was nice to see Zaheer bowling yesterday and to hear that he is suffering from hamstring is not good for Indian team and to veiwers around the world. Dont know if Zak did good preperation coming into the tests from rest. He should have concentrated a lot on his fitness as he is always prone to these niggles. Indian team do not have Viru in the team and injury to Zak put even more pressure on the batting line to pile runs and then hope for the best from the bowlers. Want to see India win the series. Go India Go........

  • 5wombats on July 21, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    Good article. Khan had it on a string today. But Anderson would have taken more wickets because there would have been more pressure for the other end, eg Tremlett. Disastrous for india if Khan is injured.

  • phoenixsteve on July 21, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    A fascinating if rain shortened first day. Ironic that India should win the toss in ideal bowling conditions and they bowled pretty well. It was the sort of conditions that you could well imagine India being bowled out for around 75 with Jimmy getting 7! Not to be though and credit to Trott/Strauss and Pieterson that they battled hard,Shame about Strauss's poor shot selection/execution which was a result of pressure. Runs were not easy to come by and thanks to some shoddy Indian fielding England are only 2 down? Tomorrow a days play and some more flambouyant batting might see England at around 400-450 which should be enough for another Innings win - unless conditions really change in the batsmens favour...To some this may have been seen as dull, but it was test cricket at it's best on a day when ball should have really dominated bat? If Zaheer is out of this game I can only see one side winning and the other's fans whining! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Finn92 on July 21, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    Take out Khan and India can say bye to the series victory