India news November 20, 2011

Zaheer's selection for Australia tour to be provisional

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Zaheer Khan's selection in India's squad for the Test series in Australia will be "provisional" and subject to him proving his fitness during Mumbai's next two matches in the Ranji Trophy, ESPNcricinfo has learned. The squad will be picked on November 26 in Mumbai, a day after the national selectors announce the squad for the five-match one-day series against West Indies.

A BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that Zaheer would need to prove he is match-fit before flying to Australia. "It would definitely be provisional," the source said of the prospects of Zaheer being included in the squad. Zaheer is likely to play for Mumbai against Orissa in Cuttack from November 29 and against Saurashtra in Rajkot from December 6.

Zaheer injured his right hamstring on the first day of the Lord's Test during the tour of England in July. Though he recovered from that injury, a recurring ankle injury re-surfaced during the practice match against Northampton ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston, forcing Zaheer to abort the series that India eventually lost 4-0.

He underwent ankle surgery and is on the road to peak fitness. In the last month, in addition to his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, Zaheer has been involved in light bowling sessions ahead of Mumbai's home matches against Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Speaking informally to the media he indicated that he did not want to expedite his return. "I am monitoring my fitness on a day-by-day basis. It is looking good but I don't want to say much," Zaheer said. Zaheer pulled out of both India's last two tours to Australia after playing just one Test - with a left heel injury in 2007-08 and with hamstring problems in 2003-04.

For the moment, according to the Mumbai Cricket Association officials, it is certain that Zaheer will play in Cuttack. As for the Rajkot game, Zaheer is likely to take a call based on how he feels against Orissa.

He was seen bowling without any visible difficulty during India's nets at the Wankhede stadium today. He delivered close to five overs against the specialist batsmen in a light training session ahead of the third Test against West Indies.

The India squad is scheduled to depart for Australia in the second week of December. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron made up the fast-bowling department for the home series against West Indies. Those three are likely to retain their places along with Zaheer, if he is declared fit, with another seamer expected to bolster the pace department.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ssenthil on November 23, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    IMO, the Squad should be, MS Dhoni (Captain), G Gambhir (Vice Captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, V Sehwag, V Kohli, R Ashwin, P Kumar, I Sharma, If fit Z Khan if not U Yadav. This should be the Playing 11. The Back ups are R Sharma, P Patel, P Ojha, V Aron and if Zak is not fit then I Pathan but Dhoni won't like Irfan hence I would like to see MS Gony or if they want only a Left arm fast bowler no chice left then J Unadkat. I think the first 15 picks themselves and only the Final fast bowler spot in trouble that only when Zak is not fit, else the 16 picks themselves. Sorry to miss out Rahane, since we can pick 16 only P Patel is there as back up W/k and Opener and Middle Order back up would be Rohit Sharma if some doesn't want Rohit Sharma then Rahane may replace him but I would pick Rohit ahead of Rahane for Middle order spot in case Virat gets trouble as he was in WI.

  • dummy4fb on November 23, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    @Nampally;whoz that left hand seamer who took 11 wkts against Aussies??

  • Sudhakergulf on November 23, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    The presence of Zaheer will play a huge role, huge in the development of the present bunch of young medium pacers."Even if he doesn't get it right in bowling, the amount of positive energy and experience he shares cannot be matched He brings new ideas, gives the bowlers a lot of confidence. To have Zaheer at mid-on or mid-off is terrific for them, their confidence doubles up. Even if half-fit i feel give chance to Zaheer

  • Sudhakergulf on November 23, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    Zaheer must be asset for indian team his presence in the field supports other young bowlers zhaeer can guide the youngsters in the filed like how to tackle with batsman mind an stuff if he is bowl to fit that in off what i feel.

  • dummy4fb on November 23, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Now I think Irfan should be given a serious consideration - in 2 Ranjee matches 14 wicket, It's matter..but not sure about Dhoni and Srikant if they given him chance, may be he is looking for RP...

  • Nampally on November 22, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    I am glad to see some support for inclusion of Irfan Pathan based on his Ranji Trophy performance this year. In 2003 Aussie tour Irfan had done very well as the pace bowler.Irfan can also occupy the #7 spot after Dhoni, in the batting line up.This also permits 2 pace & 2 spinners if India wants to try that combination. The choice of Yuvraj or Jadeja as the second all rounder may be equally good. 5 Fast bowlers could be Ishant, Aaron, Yadev, Irfan Pathan & ZAK (if fit) or else Abu Nechim. Spinners: Ojha &Ashwin. Batsmen: Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dhoni(WK), Kohli & P.Patel (WK) - All rounder: Yuvraj or Jadeja + 2 more to make a squad of 18. The last 2 could be Rahane & Rohit Sharma or a leg spinner Rahul Sharma.Australians are weak against left hand bowlers, fast or spin. Murali Kartik did well against them for India. SA left handed seamer took 11 Wkts in the last test agiant the Aussies. So ZAK, Irfan & Ojha will be effective. Rahul will be good with bouncy leg spin.

  • the_blue_android on November 22, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    RandyOZ, even your famed invincibles could not inflict "5-0". I don't think your attack of Peter popgun siddle, mitchell wayward johnson, pat overhyped cummins and nathan can't spin lyon can do much.

  • Johnny_129 on November 22, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    In recent times (esp since his loss of pace), I have not been in support of Irfan Pathan's inclusion. However, given his recent success in Ranji, I think he should be given a serious consideration - reason being, he has 'been there and done that' and we know he is capable. Also he can bat a bit. A fit IP and Zak would be difficult to handle. Indian pace bowlers for Aus TEST SERIES should be Zak, Ishant, PK, Yadav, Irfan/ Aaron. If the Indian bolwers struggle early in the series to dismiss Aus twice then perhaps Irfan can be used at #6 bat to bolster the bowling attack!

  • SatyajeetPanda on November 22, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    How can the Ranji match between Orissa and Mumbai be played at Cuttack ? Cuttack is the venue for the 1st odi between WI and Ind on Nov 29.

  • Percy_Fender on November 22, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    This tussle betwen Nampally on one side and RandyOZ and The bigone. Probably more interesting than the India Australia series will be. I feel it will be a well fought series. Both the former No1's are presently in the recovery process after humiliating losses to none other than the usually villified England. Australia certainly have uncovered a rare champion in Pat Cummins and maybe a decent spinner in Lyon. But they also have an aging middle order. India too has a 2 decade old middle order of all time greats but the younger players are slowly making their mark as well. And with the likes of Kohli there will not be any shortage of theatre and dialogue in lieu of the usual Oz monologue.But the other young guns will do well I think. I mean the Ashwins and Ojhas of the new age.So rather than this endless and comical shadow boxing, let us wait for the real Boxing day. It ipromises to be mouth watering stuff.

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