England v India, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 2nd day July 22, 2011

Doubts persist over Zaheer's fitness

Zaheer Khan is likely to sit out the remainder of Lord's Test and could even be a doubtful starter for second Test starting at Trent Bridge on July 29. Though the Indian team management sent out a brief indicating that Zaheer could still play a part during the second innings of the Lord's Test, it is understood that the bowler has expressed reservations in private with the team's think tank.

On Friday Zaheer remained positive after an hour-long strengthening session late afternoon on Friday. "I am feeling better. Let's see how it goes," Zaheer said as he walked back to the dressing room from the Nursery grounds, a fair distance, without any visible cramping.

However, according to a team source, Zaheer does not want to risk and exacerbate the hamstring strain as it could be dodgy and force him to miss out on the entire series. Zaheer pulled out of the play midway into his second over of the third spell on the overcast Thursday afternoon, limping back to the dressing room holding his right hamstring. Till then Zaheer had dominated the England batsmen for the better part of the rain-affected first day, accounting for the English opening pair of Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook.

Immediately Zaheer rushed to a nearby hospital to undergo an MRI scan and though no big damage was detected the bowler felt it was only better to play safe rather than rush back to the field. "It is a slight strain at the moment but if he played any further there is a real fear of it becoming a tear," the source said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo