Current cricket in focus
RSS RSS

Ugra: 'Leaving out Zaheer makes no sense'

Sharda Ugra, ESPNcricinfo's senior editor, discusses the India Test squad for the upcoming home series against West Indies

October 31, 2013

Posted by wapuser on (November 5, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

zaheer shouldn't lose confidence he should play more first class matches and once again prove his talent

Posted by kadera51 on (November 5, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

ZAK should have been included...if u brings him back even the expectation from him is very high...he has to be spearhead of indian bowling attack everytime he makes comeback.......the expectation from him is too much someone his new ball sharer should have been step up like pakistan bowlers....

Gautam definetly deserves test spot ..he has been consistent in both tests and ODIS than Suresh raina...dont know the reason why raina kep and gambhir dropped all of sudden..

i am damn sure india definetly need ZAK and gautam s experience and talent in saf....Gautam is like virat who can fight in single..in newzealand his double ton in a follow on game and we won the series is the perfect example for his talent...and as far as i observed he has been more consistent than MSD....Even i am agr8 fan of MSD i still support gautam bcz he is such a talented batsman like virat....

i am damn sure Gautam gambhir will be back in both odi and test formats soon...as india needs his talent...

Posted by shammy521 on (November 5, 2013, 4:03 GMT)

Why Dhoni not considering seniors with the help of them he got name in cricket world with the help of them india got 2 world cups t20-2007 best players Gautam Gambhir,yuvaraj singh 2011-world cup best players gautam gambir,yuvaraj singh ,sachin in the final gautam played good innings under pressure... my advice give a chance to zaheer in test squad....i hope they will prove ...

Posted by   on (November 2, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

I believe Selectors should have gone with ZK in place of Ishant Sharma who is not in form at present. Inspite of having a skeleton space in the team for last 4 one dayers he has not played any one of them. Keeping ZK in the team will help the bench strength and also his experience will have an impact on other pacers too.

Posted by ramli on (November 2, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

ZK needs to demonstrate his fitness for some more time ... if he does, he is an automatic selection for SA ... why all this hurry to bring in the seniors, the moment they do something in domestic cricket ... what is wrong in persisting with juniors who have outshone every senior discussed here? Bhajji was given the longest rope in the world and was dropped ... now everybody wants him back on the basis of just 1-2 above average bowling in domestic cricket ... MV gets his last chance and if he fails against WI, he is a goner forever ... and so is IS ... all others have earned their places in this squad and rightly so ... and if anyone fails consistently, there is enough stock for replacement

Posted by   on (November 2, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

Why Dhoni not considering seniors with the help of them he got name in cricket world with the help of them india got 2 world cups t20-2007 best players Gautam Gambhir,yuvaraj singh 2011-world cup best players gautam gambir,yuvaraj singh ,sachin in the final gautam played good innings under pressure... my advice give a chance to gautam,viru,zaheer in test squad....i hope they will prove ...

Posted by Bullandbare on (November 1, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

Sharda - how can you expect West Indies to make a score if Ishant isn't there??! More than avoiding rank turners, it is important to have a good fast bowler who can help West Indies make a score and hence Tendulkar to have enough opposition total to work with over two innnings, if not one!!

Posted by   on (November 1, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Sharda, the logic to not bringing Zaheer into the 11 could be pretty basic - ZAK if match-fit could be ready with one / two warm-up games. India needs to give Dhoni at least 4 more so Dhoni has a pack of 3 in the playing 11, alongwith Rasool / Ashwin & Jadeja to make a quantum of 5 bowlers. Not picking Zak in the playing 11 gives Dhoni one more bowler to test out. As of now the options look like - Shami, Bhuvi, Yadav, Ishant, Unadkat. The surprise actually is the absence of Abhishek Nayyar & Dhawal Kulkarni. Nayyar would be particularly useful in NZ / eng, where his medium pace moving ball could be effective AND he is a more than competent batsman (maybe not Virat Kohli, but definitely useful).

Posted by Dheerendradm on (November 1, 2013, 17:39 GMT)

I think zaheer can deserve that place ahead to ishant.ashwin current form is not good so why can selector choose bhaji for these test match and ofcourse viru and gauti can deserve their laspt match with MASTER

Posted by vsroc on (November 1, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

Posted by Venkat Sraman on (November 1,2013) It is quite true that omission of Zaheer Khan in the test team to play against West Indies makes no sense.May be he will get a chance to play against Australia.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

Its just becoz selectors want to give enough time for zaheer to return to form before SA series by getting enough ranji matches under his belt.

Posted by abhilamus on (November 1, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

Cont... As a last measure, for India, with regard to the state of India fast bowlers, make an agreement with Pakistan, so that we can 'Loan' them our two Batsmen from India A team (at present Indian A batsmen are much better than Pakistan national team) and in return get two/three fast bowlers from Pakistan/ Bangladesh, even if they are not represented national side. As far as nurturing natural talent is concerned, these teams are way ahead, as it appears, in terms of producing world class fast bowlers. Those who blame flat tracks in India not responsible for the development of fast bowlers, please note that Pakistan pitches are also considered as flat tracks, yet they are having abundance of fast bowlers, who are able to hit speed gun in excess of 145kmph. They have and are proving the same at UAE, a 'desert' which is now producing best bowling competition rather than having a 'slogfest'.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (November 1, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

Whether Zaheer or Ishant is an academic question. Neither one of them would have got a chance in the starting eleven unless there was an injury to Bhuvi or Umesh. India will definitely go in with 2 spinners. So what is the fuss about? The acid test will be the team selection for South Africa!

Posted by abhilamus on (November 1, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

let's be realistic at once. Pakistan and Bangladesh, who were once part of undivided India, are producing world class fast bowlers. They do have the almost the same culture-in terms of diet- as Indians do. But still we are unable to produce fast bowlers who can be labelled as 'right/left arm fast'. Instead what india have is called right/left arm medium fast or fast medium. And those who appear to bowl in speeds over 140 kmph, are 'coached' (read Munaf Patel/Ishant Sharma) once they reach in the Indian National team, that they either bowls 'line & length' or happens to be present day Ishant Sharma, with no control over either speed or line & length. I couldn't understand why is it that a nation with such huge population unable to have a bowler who is half as descent as a Pakistani or a Bangladeshi bowler. Contd....

Posted by   on (November 1, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

@Rohit . While I think Ishant Sharma should be in the test squad ,its not because he had a great IPL as you put it .Hes been a mediocre ODI bowler for a while including in the IPL . Look at the IPL stats ,he had worse bowling averages and economy rate than even any of his Sunrisers teammates including such luminaries as KV Reddy ,Ashish Sharma ,Darren Sammy ,Amit Mishra and of course Dale Steyn .His strike rate is also miserable .Now he did take 15 wickets but thats actually tied with Awana at 15 ,less than Dinda ,U Yadav and way less than Bhajji at 24 ,so great IPL ,I think not . Very Mediocre ODI bowler ,still deserves a chance in tests but Zaheer better .

Posted by Rohit... on (November 1, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

There are different retirement age for different players... A fast bowler is expected to retire at the age of 35, a spinner at 37 and a batsman at 39... Zaheer is already at his retirement age... His selection will only be a liability on the team... Already we have seen his fielding and his body is not up to the mark...As for Ishant, he must have learnt his lessons and should be given another chance before ignoring him forever... He had a great IPL and somewhat moderate CT... After that he lost his rythm and in CL he was exposed.. Also he is bpowling on the flattest track against a team who are great against fast bowlers... Let his fail on bouncy tracks (in SA) before taking a final call.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

yes no sence , leaving zaheer and viru gambhir also.. to be frank windies are weak in playing spin dat was known by the world. here no danger of loosing the series especially this series was conducting for the sake of SACHIN. IT IS MORE IMPORTANT WAT SACHIN LIKE TO HAVE . he had a great relationship with viru , zaheer and harbhajan..these players spent all their carreer with sachin. how they feel , they wants to carry sachin on their shoulders.. they wants to hug him on a winning note , they wants to shake hands with sachin, they wants to rub their shoulders.they wants to share the dressing room with him , more importantly giving a chance to viru, zak, gauthi, and bajji , against a team like windies in home conditions, especially ITS SACHINS FAREWELL SERIES.. MAY HELP THEM to get back in to form.. they are not over aged everyone knows about their abilities. iam not saying youngsters dont need all these things.. they too .but they deserves it more.

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (November 1, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

Just one good performance in Ranji does not guarantee a return to nationa team. In fact, joginder Sharma bowled better then Zak in the same match. Why don't you ask for his inclusion? I think this discussion does not make any sense!

Posted by Ananth83 on (November 1, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

Agree with the selectors not to pick Zak in the team. There is absolutely no reason why he should be selected now as he has not performed or played too many first class games yet to prove that he is threatening. He simply cannot come back into the squad because of the 4 wicket haul against Haryana and WI A. It should also be noted that his performance in his last few test appearances or can say throughout 2012 was poor. In about 14 innings, he picked up 15 wickets with a best of 3/122.

WRT Ishant, it is ridiculous to have him in the team not due to his recent ODI performances but due to the fact that he hasn't done anything in tests either. If he is picked in the team just because he can bowl 15 - 20 overs continuously, I see no point as it doesn't matter even if he bowls from one end throughout the day when he can't pickup wickets considering he is the self-proclaimed spearhead of the Indian team.

Posted by Rahulbose on (November 1, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

These are exhibition games organized for Tendulkar, pitches will be flat as can be. Most likely result is 2 draws. Discussing bowling sounds out of place, plus bating at 4 is also strange given Sachin will play this series.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

First of all we are playing in india,why you need 15 players in a team? Look at Eng,aus,SA they will be playing 12 or 13 during home series.If you wanted Ishant sharma for next 2 years then sent to play ranji trophy let him learn the basics.Being a senior bowler how can he pick 32 wkts from last 18 matches horrible even worst by any indian bowler.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (November 1, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

Sharda, You missed all the points. Are you an expert or the selectors experts? Why would you play Zaheer in India on the flat batting pitches that will be prepared for Sachin to score couple of more hundreds. Spin might only come into effect from 3rd/4th day, unlike what u are saying, sachin will be given a belter of a pitch, hence it is not wise to have zaheer bent his back. Please understand. As par Ishant is concenred, do not mix up ODI and Test. Also note he may not be in the 11. On Rohit coming in late and not having experiened after sachin is not this selectors fault for one and also it is players who have not performed to merit an earlier selection. And Shewag and Gambhir, please. Do not worry, Kohli will move to No.4 to sachin's spot. As soon as team is announced I ask the reports to first look at the positives and then the negatives.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

Zak is still the best pacer in India, Umesh Yadav is the 2nd best. The rest is all riffraff, capable of club level cricket. Ishant has one good spell every year and the following 12-months Dhoni just sings praise of his one perormance and keeps giving him chances. Dhoni personally ruined the career of Kaif and Irafan Pathan and he is intent on finishing Zak's career as well. He is not a fair captain.

Posted by Happy_hamster on (October 31, 2013, 21:27 GMT)

I thought after his poor performance in the game against WI A it makes perfect sense to leave him out, he was very good for a brief spell but his time is long gone.

Posted by ashok16 on (October 31, 2013, 21:08 GMT)

The beauty of such selection decisions is that anybody can comment on it. Not sure why one reporter is better than another fan. I think it is the right decision. Last chance of a lifetime for Ishant. And Zaheer, it is not going to kill him to bowl in a few more domestic matches. If he manages to stay fit, and take a few wickets he can go to South Africa. If he breaks down, time to stay bye-bye.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (October 31, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

Ishant's bowling is a joke. A bowler who averages 53 in last 2 years is not a bowler. Any decent Ranji pace bowler can do better than Ishant. If selectors were unsure of Zaheer's fitness, they should have given a chance to one of the promising young bowlers like Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Imtiaz Ahmed, etc.

Posted by anilkp on (October 31, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

"We need someone like Ishant who can bowl 20 overs at a stretch". "We cannot bank on Zaheer who is not very fit". "Zaheer is overtimed". These are the sentiments that echo today. Are these sensible comments? No, they are not. These are as worthless a statement as can get. How helpful is Ishant in bowling 20 overs for zero wickets? Why does a captain ask his bowlers to bowl? To just passl time or to get wickets? Umesh? Bowls a lot, gives runs away a lot, hardly any wickets to show. Shami? Good in one ODI, horrible in the other. This is the wealth we have, folks! Pray for a day when the team will be made entirely of batsmen some of whome can roll their hands. Or, some bowlers who are better at batting instead. Reasons for this mess are many, and solutions could be many too; but none in BCCI seems interested. Brace for those days in near future.

Posted by tarique14 on (October 31, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

Here are some figures for all u ishant fans. In last 5 test series, ishant has taken 32 wickets in 17 tests with mindblowing avg of 53.40. And icing on the cake is his tally of 2 wickets in 3 ODIs(vs aussies) with avg of 94.5 and economy of 8... guys its okay if we dont want to see zaheer making comeback in waning phase of his career but stop backing and supporting such a horrible bowler either.

Posted by thinkgood on (October 31, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

I think leaving Zaheer out is a very wise decision. Zaheer is not fit for longer formats any more than T20 and one days. We need a work horse such as Ishant to bow1 20 odd overs in a spell ! Zaheer can get injured and be a liability for the team and the captain.

Posted by sardarmayana on (October 31, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

Zaheer Khan is on last legs. He has been for the past four years always getting injured. Right decision by board to omit him and may be this will be the end of his playing days for India. Ishant Sharma should not be there either. Hopefully, The board will get new players to enter and also nuture new bowlers for future. Zaheer should be out and quite rightly so, just getting few wickets in Ranji Matches does not credit his inclusion.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Right decision. In tests Isannt will be a different player in tests. No need to go back to top of the hill players. We saw the contribution of Yuvraj in ODIs.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

mohit sharma or sanjeev sharma are better options than ishant sharma looking at the current form

Posted by   on (October 31, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

I am okay with leaving Zaheer out for these 2 test matches. My guess is these are going to be nice batting wickets made to help Sachin retire on a high. Zaheer will struggle as will any pace bowler. It is better that he plays a few more Ranji matches and get some more bowling under his belt and is fit enough. Hope the selectors had a word with him along this line.

Posted by anuradha_d on (October 31, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

Zaheer had to play.....given his form and wicket taking skills that are still sharp as he demonstrated in season opening games so far.

Howevver not having Zaheer is directly linked to Jadeja's injury....because Jadeja makes it a 5 specialist bowler attack for India.

Zaheer's fitness does not allow India risking him as one of the 4bowlers.....but the day jadeja is match fit...Zaheer will walk into the playing 11

Posted by vasanth6868 on (October 31, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

If the next tournament was a world cup , Zaheer would ve been in . But , its against the lesser west indies at home . This series is followed by away tours to South Africa dec-jan ,New Zealand in jan-feb , and England in jul-sep . Will Zaheer be FIT enough through all these away series ??... reading from the past , its a BIG NO . Sandip patil and co. have done a good job in retaining Ishant Sharma. His poor ODI form cannot be taken into account for his test selection. His recent test performances haven`t been great either. But with age, fitness and talent on his side , he is a better pick than Zaheer , looking solely into the present and the future of Indian Cricket. !

Posted by RajeshNaik on (October 31, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

The selectors looking for the future. Moreover, for a 2 test series it is not worth recalling Zaheer. He will be back for the SA series to mentor the youngsters. Moreover, personally I never thought this speaker is worth a read or worth the time to hear. She has a flawed knowledge of cricket, the game. But her reports on administration and issues related to Cricket apart from the game are very good worth a read. But, her knowledge of the game and her reasoning/analysis on issues like this are awful and shows a clear lack of understanding of the game. She makes a living on condemning and criticising sensible decisions.

Posted by ranjitchakravarthy07 on (October 31, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

Pretty disappointed at Zak being left out since the bowling lacks in experience and incision both of which Zak would bring in tons.Also expect Rahane to get a go because he has been in sidelines for little too long and he also must be given a long run like jaddu was given in odis.

Posted by IndTheBest on (October 31, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

Not including Zaheer in the team is like leaving the due dividends on the table. Remember you don't have to invest in him anymore. He is experienced, matured and in any day half-fit Zaheer is much better than full fit Ishant.

Posted by NigelDias on (October 31, 2013, 14:08 GMT)

Zaheer is 35. I don't see the point in investing on a 35 year old. Agree, He is one of your better bowlers, but taking a 35 yr old ...(who ll turn 36 next year) to NZ(early next year), england and later australia for a test series makes no sense...

Umesh can be erratic, Shami hasn't been tested, but they still are your best bets...

Comments have now been closed for this article


Play Video
'Dickwella handled mental challenges well'

Jul 25, 2014 Andrew Fernando and Firdose Moonda discuss the second day of the second Test match between Sri Lanka and South Africa (02:44)

Play Video
Fernando: Jayawardene held Sri Lanka together

Jul 24, 2014 Firdose Moonda and Andrew Fernando review day one of the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa, at the SSC (04:06)


Play Video
Highlights: Outlaws chase down 200 for fine win

Highlights: The Nottinghamshire Outlaws chased a lofty total of 200 to beat Yorkshire by six wickets and knock them out of this year's NatWest T20 Blast, at Headingley (07:39) | Jul 25, 2014

Play Video
Hales 67 provides platform

Highlights: Nottinghamshire opener Alex Hales scored 67 runs from 40 balls giving his team the base they needed to beat Yorkshire by six wickets, at Headingley (01:37) | Jul 25, 2014

Play Video
Taylor and Franklin unleash barrage for win

Highlights: Nottinghamshire batsmen James Taylor and James Franklin went big at the end of their match against Yorkshire scoring the necessary runs needed to win by six wickets, at Headingley (01:26) | Jul 25, 2014