India news August 24, 2013

'My fitness has let me down' - Zaheer

ESPNcricinfo staff
76

Zaheer Khan, the India pace bowler, has admitted fitness has been a major issue holding him back in recent times. Getting fitter, he said, was his focus of late, and that could help him regain his place in the Indian team.

"Everybody wants to represent the country. If I am fit and can meet the demands, things should fall in place," Zaheer told DNA on his return from a fitness-training stint in France. "My fitness has let me down and I have been working on it. My next big test would be the domestic season, the Ranji Trophy. I want to get back into the Indian team."

Zaheer was dropped from the Test team in December last year, during the home series against England that India lost. His last limited-overs international was in October 2012. He played a couple of Ranji games for Mumbai after being ignored for the final Test against England, but then picked up a calf injury that forced him out of the knockout stages of the tournament and the Irani Cup. He was out of action for over four months, before returning to competitive cricket in the final stages of the IPL.

While he was injured during the Australia Tests in February, he was unlikely to be picked for the matches on form, as India blooded several young players and went on to sweep Australia 4-0. Zaheer said the competition for places in the Test XI would only benefit Indian cricket. "Competition only helps you do your best. There is no threat. Youngsters doing well is a good sign for Indian cricket. And if the seniors do the same, then you become a champion side."

Allrounder Yuvraj Singh, who had also trained in France with Zaheer after being sidelined from the Indian team, said the seniors should not be forgotten though.

Speaking to the media on his return from France, Yuvraj said: "I am very happy with the way the youngsters have been performing. But it is the balance of seniors and youngsters that makes a team strong.

"With or without me, India should select the best XI. [But] I believe that a team should be a blend of youth and experience. I am not saying that past success should be taken into account while selecting a present team but one shouldn't forget what we have achieved for the country."

Yuvraj, who was dropped from the Test side at the same time as Zaheer and did not feature in the Champions Trophy in June, has the 2015 World Cup at the back of his mind. His immediate focus though, is returning to international cricket. "The 2015 World Cup is very far, we still have a year-and-a-half for the World Cup. But it remains a part of my goal and I want to make it happen. But my immediate goal is to play for India as soon as possible. For that I have to play as much cricket as I can before the Challenger [Trophy]."

The Challenger Trophy, which features the premier one-day talent in the country, is scheduled to begin on September 26, the curtain-raiser for the 2013-14 domestic season.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 24, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Very Well said Yuvi and ZAK, we need you senior guys in the team..!! Your match winning abilities cannot be ignored and also it is already very tough for us to watch cricket without dravid, ganguly, laxman, sachin, kumble, sehwag, gambhir and co. We dont want to lose you guys so early, lot of cricket still left in you guys..!! Inshallah work hard as your are now and you will surely succeed..!!

  • Capricorn60 on August 24, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Very true what Yuvraj & Zaheer are saying we do indeed need a blend of youth & experience but for far too long before, players were just being chosen on their past reputations & who didn't have the form/hunger as they knew their places in the team were guaranteed - hence we got a few drubbings like the one in England & Australia. Fortunately the new selectors had the courage to drop all these non-performing stalwarts when they took over. These players clearly now know that if they wish to get back into the team & compete for places with these motivated youngsters who have come in & done so well for us, they can NO longer merely rely on their names to walk back into the team but first need to show both form & fitness - which is how it should always be!

  • Capricorn60 on August 27, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Some Indian fans are seriously deluded if they think we can simply afford to ignore a fit & in-form Zaheer Khan for the SA Test tour later this year & just make do with a few of these young medium-pacers who are currently touring SA with the A team. Even though a couple of them like say Ishwar Pandey have done reasonably well, they still have made heavy weather of bowling the SA A team tail both in the first & this unofficial Test match too. Hence shudder to think how they will fare if faced with much classier batsmen like AB & Amla! Zaheer showed glimpses of his class when he got fit & played towards the end of this year's IPL - hence assuming he shows both form & fitness, we desperately need him to spearhead our bowling attack if we are to stand a chance of success in this SA Test tour. This difficult tour will be no place for inexperienced bowlers nor will our spinners prosper much as they do back home.

  • Al_Bundy1 on August 26, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    A half-fit Zaheer is still better than Ishant and Umesh combined. People like @ Ravi Keelveedhi must be kidding when they say - No doubt our youngsters like Bhuvi, Umesh, Ishant are spearheading the pace attach with wily spinners Ashvin and Sir Jaddu. Ishant - a spearhead. Really? When was the last time he took more than 2 wickets in a match. Ashwin and Jaddu are wily spinners. Really ?? They might be useful for ODI and T20, but they can't take more than 5 wickets in a test match.

  • pawanchoyal on August 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    If ryan harish can play with 37 .....they why not zak.....if he is fit then he is the best fast bowler ever in india.....he is a more batter bowler with age....

  • SherjilIslam on August 26, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    I want him to be given one last chance and SA would be the perfect place as the conditions would be friendly for seam bowling & Zak has the apt the experience of playing in South African conditions. Also, he can guide our young bowlers in the tour as most of them don't have the exp. of playing in SA conditions.

  • on August 25, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Honestly, I feel Zaheer should hang his boots & be the bowling coach of India. Shami, Mohit Sharma & Unadkat along with I Pandey are certainly better options, provided they have good coaching, and Zaheer, being experienced, can provide just that. My 16 to SA would be: 1.Dhawan 2.Vijay 3.Pujara 4.Tendulkar 5.Kohli 6.R Sharma 7.Dhoni 8.Ashwin 9.B Kumar 10. Unadkat 11.Yadav 12.Shami 13.Mishra 14.M Sharma 15.Rahane 16.D Karthik

  • on August 25, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    zaheer ,ishant, bhuvi,Umesh, ishwar pandey, - seamers jadeja and Ashwin -spinners

  • soaf on August 25, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    at his best, an average bowler.zaheer was lucky to be a part of such boisterous batting lineup having sachins,dravids and laxmans.always bowled well when there was a substantantial score set up by batsmen,but never saw him making a mark with ball when indian batting struggled.comparison with anderson seems to be vague and unclear coz anderson is the leader of the pack having quality pacers like broad finn and bresnan.while zaheer was leading an attack conisting of mediocre bowlers.so he was really"one eyed man in the land of blinds."still it seems to be ludicrous that with this form and fitness he is aiming for a return because he knows that indian team always hve a big hole in thir pace bowling dept and he can still make away back in this mediocre bowling.apart from newzealand,srilanka and westindies he can never find a place in bowling lineups of other test four test nations.

  • on August 25, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    a fit and motivated yuvi can take down any youngster to earn a place in the side. not only that he has thrashed the oppositions like none other can in the past and if fit he should be in the t20 and odis

  • on August 24, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Very Well said Yuvi and ZAK, we need you senior guys in the team..!! Your match winning abilities cannot be ignored and also it is already very tough for us to watch cricket without dravid, ganguly, laxman, sachin, kumble, sehwag, gambhir and co. We dont want to lose you guys so early, lot of cricket still left in you guys..!! Inshallah work hard as your are now and you will surely succeed..!!

  • Capricorn60 on August 24, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Very true what Yuvraj & Zaheer are saying we do indeed need a blend of youth & experience but for far too long before, players were just being chosen on their past reputations & who didn't have the form/hunger as they knew their places in the team were guaranteed - hence we got a few drubbings like the one in England & Australia. Fortunately the new selectors had the courage to drop all these non-performing stalwarts when they took over. These players clearly now know that if they wish to get back into the team & compete for places with these motivated youngsters who have come in & done so well for us, they can NO longer merely rely on their names to walk back into the team but first need to show both form & fitness - which is how it should always be!

  • Capricorn60 on August 27, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Some Indian fans are seriously deluded if they think we can simply afford to ignore a fit & in-form Zaheer Khan for the SA Test tour later this year & just make do with a few of these young medium-pacers who are currently touring SA with the A team. Even though a couple of them like say Ishwar Pandey have done reasonably well, they still have made heavy weather of bowling the SA A team tail both in the first & this unofficial Test match too. Hence shudder to think how they will fare if faced with much classier batsmen like AB & Amla! Zaheer showed glimpses of his class when he got fit & played towards the end of this year's IPL - hence assuming he shows both form & fitness, we desperately need him to spearhead our bowling attack if we are to stand a chance of success in this SA Test tour. This difficult tour will be no place for inexperienced bowlers nor will our spinners prosper much as they do back home.

  • Al_Bundy1 on August 26, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    A half-fit Zaheer is still better than Ishant and Umesh combined. People like @ Ravi Keelveedhi must be kidding when they say - No doubt our youngsters like Bhuvi, Umesh, Ishant are spearheading the pace attach with wily spinners Ashvin and Sir Jaddu. Ishant - a spearhead. Really? When was the last time he took more than 2 wickets in a match. Ashwin and Jaddu are wily spinners. Really ?? They might be useful for ODI and T20, but they can't take more than 5 wickets in a test match.

  • pawanchoyal on August 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    If ryan harish can play with 37 .....they why not zak.....if he is fit then he is the best fast bowler ever in india.....he is a more batter bowler with age....

  • SherjilIslam on August 26, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    I want him to be given one last chance and SA would be the perfect place as the conditions would be friendly for seam bowling & Zak has the apt the experience of playing in South African conditions. Also, he can guide our young bowlers in the tour as most of them don't have the exp. of playing in SA conditions.

  • on August 25, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Honestly, I feel Zaheer should hang his boots & be the bowling coach of India. Shami, Mohit Sharma & Unadkat along with I Pandey are certainly better options, provided they have good coaching, and Zaheer, being experienced, can provide just that. My 16 to SA would be: 1.Dhawan 2.Vijay 3.Pujara 4.Tendulkar 5.Kohli 6.R Sharma 7.Dhoni 8.Ashwin 9.B Kumar 10. Unadkat 11.Yadav 12.Shami 13.Mishra 14.M Sharma 15.Rahane 16.D Karthik

  • on August 25, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    zaheer ,ishant, bhuvi,Umesh, ishwar pandey, - seamers jadeja and Ashwin -spinners

  • soaf on August 25, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    at his best, an average bowler.zaheer was lucky to be a part of such boisterous batting lineup having sachins,dravids and laxmans.always bowled well when there was a substantantial score set up by batsmen,but never saw him making a mark with ball when indian batting struggled.comparison with anderson seems to be vague and unclear coz anderson is the leader of the pack having quality pacers like broad finn and bresnan.while zaheer was leading an attack conisting of mediocre bowlers.so he was really"one eyed man in the land of blinds."still it seems to be ludicrous that with this form and fitness he is aiming for a return because he knows that indian team always hve a big hole in thir pace bowling dept and he can still make away back in this mediocre bowling.apart from newzealand,srilanka and westindies he can never find a place in bowling lineups of other test four test nations.

  • on August 25, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    a fit and motivated yuvi can take down any youngster to earn a place in the side. not only that he has thrashed the oppositions like none other can in the past and if fit he should be in the t20 and odis

  • on August 25, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Both Zak and Yuvi have contributed largely for India's success ladder in World Cup 2011. In fact Yuvi was MOM in some of the matches. We cannoit forget blitzkreig in 2007 T20 Cup Vs England when he hit 6x6 of the hapless Stuart Broad. Zak was our strike bowler in many of our victories in Test Matches & ODIs. Zak has 200 + wkts in test matches, which is by no means a mean achievement. Nodoubt our youngsters like Bhuvi, Umesh, Ishant are spearheading the pace attach with wily spinners Ashvin and Sir Jaddu. So, past glory may not be criteria for selection in the present scheme of things. But, if Zak proves his fitness, he will be a lethal force in SA pitch conditions and Yuvi also can prove his worth and stake claim. The next Test series is in SA and it will be a great test of character. Recently Sachin said that you have to withstand the pressures of international matches especially abroad.

  • Naresh28 on August 25, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    I dont think India will see a better left armer for India than this guy. He was shrewd as well.Planning dismissals. He was instrumental in getting INDIA TO NO1 in tests. Will he make a comeback? Well he does have about two years of cricket left in - his style means his legs are taking a beating (the jump/hop on delivery) His decline meant India declined in Test cricket. I feel he should concentrate on the limited overs game.

  • siddhartha87 on August 25, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    true.Zaheer 's fitness let him down. He is a better bowler than the like of Anderson any day.Even playing most of the matches in India where pitches are not favorable for fast bowling,he took 295 wickets at a strike rate of 59. Zaheer you always have been a inspiration for young fast bowlers and always will be.

  • SanjivAwesome on August 25, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    "First, my attitude let me down. Next came fitness, then ... ".

  • kingkarthik on August 25, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    I mean seriously thank you Zaheer for being a good player during the past. But in reality, today you are the spearhead bowler with a cutting edge of a sponge. You are unable to take two to three wickets let alone run through teams. It is high time that you retired gracefully and moved out on to coaching the youngsters at MRF academy. Their is no place for you in the Indian team and their is no future for the Indian team with you in it. You will forever be the leader of the lost generation - Zaheer, Ashish Nehra, RP Singh, Balaji, Agarkar, Irfan Pathan.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 24, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    @MichaelT: I disagree with you completely. I think SA are going behind while India are fast becoming a stronger unit each day. Some of our young Indian players are as good if not better than SA in every department. Kallis, Graeme Smith, Steyn, and AB De Villiers are the only truly recognized match winners. Out of them, Kallis and Smith are becoming old and won't get any better. AB Devilliers has had a horrible 2013 thus far. The rest of the SA players are talented but they lack the poise and intent of the veterans. It's the bowling that will really give India problems if the surfaces are lively. Steyn, Morkel, and Philander are formidable. But. the same cannot be said about SA's batting. Also, India have quality spinners along with their talented fast bowlers. So India can easily exploit many weaknesses in the SA ranks. I think it will be a close series. A 1-1 result is most likely.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on August 24, 2013, 21:51 GMT

    Sorry Zaheer, I see it this way. It is because fitness was not a mandatory requirement in Indian Cricket of yesteryears, that you could actually play for India. The rest of the sincere youngsters realised the importance of fitness and so did the Indian crowd and the selectors. Tough luck mate. You can't expect to have a free ride your whole life. I admire your superior bowling skills though. Cheers in your retirement!

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 24, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    It's heartening to read that Zaheer has finally admitted his lack of fitness is the reason that put a speed breaker on his career. At least now some of our so called 'seniors' can realize the value of fitness and its advantages in sport. Also, I am sure people like Yuvi and ZAK will now understand that past glories and reputations don't matter any more to the Indian cricket team. It's all about chaining performances together at first class level and then earning their places in the test and ODI XIs. If you ask me, I would like to see ZAK involved in some capacity during the SA tour. Obviously, we have a set of good, young fast bowlers who lack experience. Zaheer could help them a lot as a mentor and spearhead the bowling attack one last time. So good luck to Zaheer and I hope he returns as fit as a fiddle.

  • MichealT on August 24, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    Despite some talent I still very much doubt India's ability to challenge SA on big stage. Australia was a struggling side but SA will be different. The batting could be exploited by experience SA bowlers and SA's batting are too tough to handle by rookie bowlers. I think Yuvraj and Zaheer has a point here or else Indian team will be coming back without significant achievement.

  • TVicky on August 24, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    I think Zaheer should be India's bowling spearhead in South Africa.India will need all his experience and now that he has worked so hard on his fitness,I am sure his hard work will pay dividends.But India needs to find a way to keep bowlers fit and for the same I would like to see Zaheer playing only test matches so that he can be fully fit and give his 100% to test cricket.

  • ball_boy on August 24, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    True, amid B Kumar Brilliance, I Sharma Efforts and U.Yadav varying line and length,desperately miss our Zaks experience and brilliance ,pains to know that a bowler said to be among the better fast bowlers of the 20th century by the english has left Zak far behind in anonymity when it was Zak whose resurgence with change in run up and method of delivery ie keeping ball hidden from batsman until moment of delivery had brought glory to the Indian Fast bowling ranks. Well Indians do tend to forget on their maintaing fitness compared to their videshi counterparts.if anybody is wondering which bowler is hailed as a great fast bowler by English it is James Anderson,note his run up and method of deliveru ie hinding ball from sight of batsman till pont of delivery it all comes back to Zak.Well learning from others success is also a important quality one which is washed over our Indian players.But to argue for Zak would be he had nobody on the other end to support him or even the conditions

  • king_julien on August 24, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    I never quite understand the youngster, youngster, youngster thing. I always feel that a team should be of the best 11 players at any given moment. Some of the best teams over the years have been pretty old ones. The invincibles in '48, The west Indies in late 80s, and Aussies in 2000s. Imran was above 40 when he captained Pakistan in 92. Hayden was thrown out of Aussie side after a few failures as he was too old, he came back and won them 2007 world cup. Ganguly was thrown out of Indian team, and after his comeback his average was 65. Michael Hussey might not even had made his debut if he was in India. Point being if you are worth you salt, you can play at 40. But if you don't have it in you then doesn't matter if you are 20-22.

    The only point is that we don't allow an old player the luxury of few failures, while a 'Supposedly Talented' youngsters are given chance after chance. Whenever a veteran player is able to make a comeback, they usually play much better for a season or two

  • Aaranya on August 24, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    Zak and Yuvi need to do lot of hard work. Just fitness or past records not going to help. Zak , if proves again, has some chance in test squad. Yuvi may in T20. But for this, they have to wait for few failures from others.

  • Nampally on August 24, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Form, Fitness & Performance should be the criteria for selection in the Indian XI. They have not always been used as a result the 8-0 rout in 2 recent overseas Test series. If Zaheer & Yuvraj want to get into the Indian XI once again they must meet these 3 criteria. These 2 are legends in their own capacity & have a great record from the past. But have they Now? I would still rate Yuvraj as the best Indian All Rounder along with Irfan Pathan. But both these guys have been plagued by injuries + serious illness, in case of yuvraj. As far as Zaheer is concerned he is still the best seamer in India if he can reproduce his old form again. ZAK & Yuvi took a big step forward to work on their fitness. Now they have to show their form & performance. Of course the Indian team should have a combo of youth & experience. Age has never been a barrier as long as performance is there. So ZAK & Yuvraj will be welcomed with open arms by Fans for sure & by Selectors, if they can bring back the old Glory!

  • TRAM on August 24, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Seniors or juniors, they should first prove their fielding first. Cant have *non-divers* and *non-chasers* in an international team.

    Even at his best Zaheer never ran through any opposition. He was good at taking lefties wickets, agreed. But even at his fittest, he had worst fielding and zero batting.

    With all the current youngsters showing good fielding as well as fighting batting, it is better for India to pick only the youngsters and not go with seniors.

    I am not against seniors, but unfortunately in the old Indian culture, "senior" means he wont field. The captain has to find a "safe" place to protect him.

    I hope with SPatil as chief of selection, professionalism would prevail.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on August 24, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    Zak, you are lucky. A spot is always there in Test team. You should be replacing Ishant in attack with Bhuvi & Yadav. Do not worry even if you do not get even a single wicket and go for plenty of runs. We are already used to that with Ishant. And I am sure, you are 100 times better than him so its always +s for us.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 24, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    Take Zak to SA. Include Shami and Unadkat. These kids can get loads of training by just listening to Zak. Should Zak play? Certainly, if he is completely fit and is completely honest about his fitness. We need him, BK and Umesh bowling in the team. IS can warm the benches in India.

  • Al_Bundy1 on August 24, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    A fully fit Zaheer can walk into any team as a bowler. When fit, he is still India's best pace bowler. Ishant's bowling is a joke - only in India can we tolerate a bowler averaging 38 !! And Yadav tends to break down too often. Zaheer still has 2 more years of bowling left in him. he can be the mentor and guide to our promising crop of youngsters - Bhuvi, Ishwar, Mohit, Shami, Sandeep Sharma, Imtiyaz Ahmed, etc.

  • krishmar1 on August 24, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    Zaheer has a much better chance of returning to the Indian team than Yuvraj. There is currently no vacancy in the batting line-up. On the other hand, Indian bowling has always been found wanting. Ishant can never match Zak who's a league apart!

  • Harmony111 on August 24, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    I am sorry Zaheer but while your poor fitness is a major issue an even bigger issue is your attitude. You tend to bowl as if you are a mesmerizer when you are only a good bowler, your reactions after bowling one good ball seems as if that's all you want to do. Your fielding isn't great and when you come out to bat you show little inclination towards applying yourself, all you seem to care about is to hit the ball in the air. A number of times it has been seen that you show no concern for the value of 10-15 extra runs, you want to bat in your usual style, just like Sehwag does. No wonder both of you are out of the team and don't look like coming back.

  • ranjitchakravarthy07 on August 24, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Indian fast bowling has always had to deal with some chinks and there is no better man than a fit and fully strong Zaheer to help the cause.As far as Yuvi is concerned,the balance he lends to the team when in prime form is indispensable.There is no better match winner than Yuvi in the cricketing family at the moment.Also with their richness in experience,the duo can make a great impact in the team.When Raina and Jadeja are still working to fire continuously with the blade,a fit Yuvi will surely be in the reckoning.For a fit Zaheer,dearth of wickets for lanky Ishanth or volatile Umesh is only going to make his entry easier.Exciting season ahead for Team India with players sweating it out on their fitness and skills.But the ones with stronger temperament will eventually taste the success.Call Rahul Dravid for that material.

  • on August 24, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    I am waiting to see Zaheer back in action for India..........

  • on August 24, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    Too much is being made out of the recent trip of Zak and Yuvi to France for getting fit. While it is a welcome move by the duo, it remains to be seen whether the regime has had any impact on their match fitness. Indian cricketers , except for a select few are known to care for their fitness. The likes of Zaheer and Yuvraj should take a leaf out of the books of Mike Hussey, Rahul Dravid , Dhoni, or earlier Kapil,etc, who were almost always fit. These players worked hard on their fitness. In Dhoni's case it is said that he plays a lot of other sports- cross training in fitness parlance, which is again a good way to have fun while also getting fit.

  • PraveenPrathapChandran on August 24, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    Have seen Zak on TV last day..GOODNESS!..he has become so thin and muscular...reminding Zaheer of younger days.Well all are aware of his capabilities with red ball and a fit Zak is definitely an asset to any side....Great to hear the news that he is putting in a lot of efforts to regain his place in the INDIAN side and we have got a lot of demanding tours ahead...away series in SA,ENG and NZ,WC in AUS,T20 WC and IPL of course......without Zak and Yuvi cricket world is not complete ........if not at least Indian cricket

  • optimiser on August 24, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    @Rambo-Raja Disagree with you completely atleast for the tests. What is the bowling you would want to see in the upcoming rsa tests.bhuvi,ishant,umesh...nah i dont think so.Ishant is known to falter & this is a serious issue considering India in no permutation can win a match without taking 20 wiks.Who else? Shami..nah too much pressure on the youngster straightaway.India needs a backbone to take wickets & also guide others(which zak has shown in the last rsa series), May be I am speaking too soon now that he hasn't taken part in ranji...But a fully fit zak if at all should definitely be in the team

  • arun_padmanabhan on August 24, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    It is great news for the Indian team , albeit in different formats, that Zak and Yuvi are working hard for comebacks. Our pace attack in tests looks very raw and without a leader, despite what Ishant might have to say! A fit Zaheer will obviously add an extra dimension to the attack - Bhuvi (right arm swinger), Zak(left arm swinger) and Yadav(right arm pacer) make an ideal combination. Yuvi will have a tough competition to enter into the odi team. Jaddu has made a name for himself and thus the competition will be between DK/Raina/Yuvi. All said, this news bodes well for the future of indian cricket and hopefully Zak and Yuvi come back to form as well!!

  • DibblyDobbler2 on August 24, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    ZAK you are finished playing for India ...the way you let India down in England was the most disgusting display I have ever seen ...you were unfit and should have known better. You are a senior professional ....you are quite happy reminding people of this ...but you should have behaved as one. Good bye ...you are the weakest link...

  • mahi678 on August 24, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    zaheer and yuvi well one in past. but they are out of form and out of favour now. veterans are good but new players doing more better. fielding is improved a lot. seriees after series at least two new youngsters are coming up with new talent. so i could see no scope for coming back of axed players.

    i liked the way raina is performing. i think he should be improved batting in over seas. he is hard worker. good fielder. i like him grow into good all rounder. shouldd give him more opportunities with ball too.

  • tony_joe on August 24, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    It has happened time and again for Zaheer... he left for injuries and joined the team back. While his career jotted with injuries has been a disappointment , what has been remarkable are his come-backs. He has came back stronger ever time and made India proud. When Zaheer thinks he is in good shape to make it back to the team ,he means it and will do it king-size.

  • PeterJerome on August 24, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Well said Scrop. My views exactly.

  • Rambo-Raja on August 24, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    The selectors should not go back to Zaheer again. It would be a regressive step affecting the morale of young upcoming fast bowlers. His time is up as an international player. The other teams will not give players like Zaheer an chance again defintely not at his age for a fast bowler who had been only average or above average throughout his career. Blood more young bowlers and make sure they are manager better.

  • AvidCricFan on August 24, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    It is good that seniors are paying attention to fitness and training for it. However, the need of blending youth and experience is overplayed some times. Team selection should be based on the current performances and promise of future performance. When the young players were given chances, they performed admirably in comparison to older players who were picked solely based on their past performances. No matter how great SRT was in the past, I don't see reason for the selectors to pick him in the playing eleven based on his performances of the last two and half years. The same goes for other players too.

  • on August 24, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    zaheer khan even in the twilight of his career cannot bowl a single over consistently . to be in the league of greats he needs to be one who when given the ball. he will be a terrible liability in the field as even if he delivers in the first innings he sure will not be able to bowl in the second. we have seen this too many times in the recent past when entire load comes on the support bowlers. he breathed fire in the 2011 ipl only to limp out of the field in england never to bowl again .

  • on August 24, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    I feel Zaheer is more suited to test cricket than to limited overs. He should try and focus on test cricket. It is a tough job for him & Yuvi (and even Sehwag & Gambhir) the way the youngsters have taken the opportunity given to them.

  • on August 24, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    A fit ZAK would be helpful for the SA tour. With a whole bunch of Rookie bowlers "spearheaded" by Ishant the bowling department needs a guiding hand. And ZAK the team man is the best "on field coach" to guide the youngsters. As for Yuvi, I personally think his Test match days are over and all experimentation should stop. Yes, Yuvi is a ODI and T20 specialist and adds value to the team. In addition to ZAK team India also needs Gambhir and Tendulkar for guiding the youngsters none of who have played more than two test matches.

  • on August 24, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Both Zahir Khan and Yuvaraj talked ventilating their views nicely. Their views must be considered for selection of upcoming international tournaments, They have the proven requisite talents which should not be neglected

  • CricketChat on August 24, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    While physical fitness is mandatory for a fast/pace bowler, Zaheer also needs to get back his speed to have any chance of making a comeback to Ind team. In the past 2 yrs or so that he prodded on before his eventual sacking, he looked no more than a medium pace bowler reducing the effectiveness of any swing and movement he got off the pitch.

  • on August 24, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    Fitness has always been Zaheer's Achilles heel. Even during his younger days, Zaheer never worked hard to build a strong body. Compared to his contemporaries like Sachin and Dravid, Zaheer was a bit lazy and took it easy. When young, the body was able to withstand the demands of the game. However, as age crept in, the lack of fitness regiment exposed his weaknesses and performance suffered. Skill wise he is one of the best swing bowlers in the game. However, he never took fitness seriously which contributed to his persistent injuries all along. Trying to get fit in his late 30s is not going to bring in the benefits as a lot of young guns are waiting in the wings to get into the Indian team. It surely is a wake up call to all young professional cricketers.

  • VJGS on August 24, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    Fitness has always been Zaheer's biggest weakness. It led to an ordinary Indian bowling in the Test series in England , and has now ruled him out of selection. As much as I would love to see him comeback to the Indian XI, I really doubt that he would be able to. He is a already 34. While that age would not have hindered him as much if he was a batsman, being a fast bowler, age will have a huge effect on his pace, agility and fitness.

  • armchairjohnny on August 24, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    The Inability for Indian cricket to produce International quality seam bowlers is still hugely problematic. I am a huge fan of Zaheer Khan, both as a person and a bowler. I appreciate the way he has toiled for Indian seam bowling over the years, almost like a lone ranger figure.

    Let's be frank though, Zak is unlikely ever to regain full fitness and be a long-term asset to Indian cricket in the foreseeable future. This is unfortunate, because even a half-fit Zak could probably out-bowl a fully fit Ishant Sharma.

    My own view is that India should drop Ishant, who I am frankly sick of the sight of. They should develop a proper fast bowling program and produce a few green-tops in India, whilst insisting that all top-level Indian seamers must play at least one season of county cricket successfully before even being considered for the national side.

    Thanks for being a loyal, humble servant of Indian cricket Zak, but I think it's time to plan ahead and look for other alternatives.

  • Scrop on August 24, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    I dont understand why Yuvi and Zak kept saying Seniors are important (not sure what context they replied) But yes, seniors are important. No one said we dont need Seniors. Well if the senior is playing better than the youngsters why not ? But the question was did dropped seniors performing as good as they are suppose to ? Since these two were dropped they turned their attention to fitness and the need to keep performing.

  • on August 24, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Zaheer and Yuvraj both have served India well in the past, but they have also both been disappointments to true fans and to themselves by never attaining their full potential. There was a time not long ago when Zaheer was briefly the best, most complete fast bowler in the world, but unfortunately that cold day when he limped off the field in England was the end of that dream. If he truly gets and stays fit there is a possibility of a return to the test side but no way will anyone ever give him the benefit of the doubt again regarding his fitness. As for Yuvraj, he should never have attempted to play test cricket. He simply never had the technique or the temperament for it, and it only made him wear out faster both physically and mentally. In the short form of the game, as a batting allrounder, Yuvraj would normally be an automatic if he is fit, but this new Indian one day side is not easy to break into, especially in the crowded middle order. I wish him every success.

  • Iceman29 on August 24, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    @Blade-Runner: Zaheer Khan is one of the legends in Indian Cricket so pay some respect to him as you expect the same for Mahela and Sangakara.....Even Anderson admitted that he watched lot of videos of Zaheer khan in the past to improve his bowling skills.....

  • keshabn on August 24, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    @ blade runner...once sanga nd mahela hang their boots..yourteam will be worse than zimbabawe.

  • optimiser on August 24, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @Blade-Runner Well you are not gonna forget him after he gets back.He's Indian Anderson/steyn & the best test fast bowler for India at least for some more time.

    And you may want to tone down your sarcasm level,huh...or else if Indians start commenting on your players this way you may not want to come back to this site(Like the time when you said samaraweera is a better test batsman than all of the current indian crop)

  • masoodali150 on August 24, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    I will recommend that Zaheer, Yuvi, Bhajji, Veeru, Gambhir and Sachin too, please give way to the youngsters.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on August 24, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    ofcourse a fit and firing zak is an asset to Indian cricket. zak , bhuvi , umesh will form a pretty good attack in SA

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    @bladerunner..we Indian fans feel sorry for Sl fans, you guys are jealous of us like no other, but your board can't survive without our board's funding, your players can't earn a decent living without ipl..the reason you get to see so many articles on Indian players is because that's what sells, espncricinfo please publish

  • rohanblue on August 24, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Missing ZAK, come back as soon as possible in d team.....

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    A fit Zaheer is a World class bowler. Lets talk about SA tour, if He is fit and able to play all 3 test India has a decent chance of bowling SA twice in all 3 matches. Bhubaneswar is good with new ball but with old ball we need Zak. For Yuvraj i must say that he has to really work hard to get his place back in the team. Right now sir RJ is in tremendous form with ball & has a chance of playing few test matches (at least in Indian subcontinent)

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    "It doesn't matter if one is 40 or 42 years of age as long as he is fit and in form. I don't agree I am only keen on forming an all-youngsters team. Since cricket is a more skill-oriented game, if there is one department where a player can perform in every game it is fielding. And to be a good fielder, one has to be very fit. I will like to keep players who can save runs and are not below average as fielders." By Mr.Dhoni ,this clearly reveals that Zaheer was axed by him

  • yogesh.gg on August 24, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    Posted by Blade-Runner on (August 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT) : What is your problem anyway ? You can select the country in drop down menu and sort things you want to see or don't want to see instead of cribbing. SL anyways don't have any player worth featuring in articles now.

  • sachinisawesome on August 24, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner Funny thing is Yuvi & Zaheer can easily walk into Sri Lankan team right now and even be their best players. That's the state of Indian cricket right now. Immense bench strength. India has more than 100 players like kushal parera, chandimal & thirrimane in domestic cricket. But Indian cap doesn't go to anyone. India has so many exceptional players that average players like parera, chandimal & thirrimane will not even get a chance in Indian team let alone they will be considered future of a team. I hope Sri Lanka can find promising players like India has and not waste time on some of the "Talents" they have in the team right now.

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    good article.no indian cricket fan will ever forget the great contributions /match winning perfomances.however now they will have perform exceptionaly to be in team india.and comparable contributions will havwe to be made in coming days.wishing all the best to both yuvi and zaheer.

  • sharidas on August 24, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Words of real professionals ! It's good that both have had fitness in their minds and worked on it. Best of luck and hope to see both of you, back in the team !

  • on August 24, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Yuvraj should back in to the indian ODI's and T20's team. Other players like Zaheer, Gambhir, harbhajan, Viru for no chance they will make a return. Because there is two reasons. First they all are out of form and carrying bad fitness too. Second is New players are doing well.

  • on August 24, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    @Blade-Runner, werent u the guy who was making famous predictions before India matches in recent series incl. Champions trophy and were eating humble pie end of each match. Dude, If u dont want to see headlines about Indian players in espncricinfo simply dont log in, go and read some Srilankan local daily instead. India rule the cricket now, on and off the field! Well dont come back and make predictions about future Indian series again now.

  • Blade-Runner on August 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Its good to read about Zaheer Khan. I had almost forgotten about him. But thanks to cricinfo's constant reminders , we get to keep tabs on out-of-date indian players. And its amazing how these Indian players make headlines on cricinfo even when they don't do anything. Past 2 weeks i saw articles written about Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Ashwin and Zaheer for no good reason. Well, i guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. G'luck to y'all anyway !!

  • Blade-Runner on August 24, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Its good to read about Zaheer Khan. I had almost forgotten about him. But thanks to cricinfo's constant reminders , we get to keep tabs on out-of-date indian players. And its amazing how these Indian players make headlines on cricinfo even when they don't do anything. Past 2 weeks i saw articles written about Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Ashwin and Zaheer for no good reason. Well, i guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. G'luck to y'all anyway !!

  • on August 24, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Dear Zaheer, Yuvi, Bhajji, Veeru, Gambhir (and perhaps Sachin too), please give way to the youngsters, many of whom are almost ready to fill the vacancies you may leave behind. Otherwise, we will be just creating more Paddy Shivalkars, & Amol Majumdars! You were all great performers, and contributed immensely for Indian cricket. But as great batsmen say, TIMING is the essence of good batsman-ship. TIMING is also the essence of quitting gracefully and living in the heart of your fans forever. P.S. You guys can still enjoy your cricket, in fora like IPL, no?

  • sachinisawesome on August 24, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Its all so amazing. Everything is so positive around Indian Cricket these days. There is no negativity among these superstar players. Lets face it Sachin as a batsman, Yuvi as an all rounder and Zaheer as a bowler won us the WC with other players also performing brilliantly. But its good that Yuvi & Zaheer don't have any ego and they realize that if they want to get back in the team then they have to prove they are fit. Recently we heard Afridi saying when he was dropped "I am still the best batsman/all rounder pakistan has. But its very different with Indian cricket these days. These already proven players are working hard but they always put team ahead everything. Recently we heard Kohli being so young and after successfully winning 5-0 against ZIM said "Rohit is a captaincy material", it shows they are individuals but their goal is the same. This without doubt is the best phase of Indian cricket in the history.

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    trully professional approach...keep it up guys we required such a big player to retain world cup.

  • Ms.Cricket on August 24, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    VEry good bowler Zhaeer but his temperament was pooor. IPL is probably his motivation now.

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    glad that he has accepted hs faults instead of blaming others.A fit zaheer is a very valuable asset for overseas tours

  • QingdaoXI on August 24, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    You both will be back in team. Zaheer for Tests and Odis and Yuvraj for ODIs and T-20s.

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Good luck to u both zak n yuvi..!!Real Rockstars

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Good luck to u both zak n yuvi..!!Real Rockstars

  • QingdaoXI on August 24, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    You both will be back in team. Zaheer for Tests and Odis and Yuvraj for ODIs and T-20s.

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    glad that he has accepted hs faults instead of blaming others.A fit zaheer is a very valuable asset for overseas tours

  • Ms.Cricket on August 24, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    VEry good bowler Zhaeer but his temperament was pooor. IPL is probably his motivation now.

  • on August 24, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    trully professional approach...keep it up guys we required such a big player to retain world cup.

  • sachinisawesome on August 24, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Its all so amazing. Everything is so positive around Indian Cricket these days. There is no negativity among these superstar players. Lets face it Sachin as a batsman, Yuvi as an all rounder and Zaheer as a bowler won us the WC with other players also performing brilliantly. But its good that Yuvi & Zaheer don't have any ego and they realize that if they want to get back in the team then they have to prove they are fit. Recently we heard Afridi saying when he was dropped "I am still the best batsman/all rounder pakistan has. But its very different with Indian cricket these days. These already proven players are working hard but they always put team ahead everything. Recently we heard Kohli being so young and after successfully winning 5-0 against ZIM said "Rohit is a captaincy material", it shows they are individuals but their goal is the same. This without doubt is the best phase of Indian cricket in the history.

  • on August 24, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Dear Zaheer, Yuvi, Bhajji, Veeru, Gambhir (and perhaps Sachin too), please give way to the youngsters, many of whom are almost ready to fill the vacancies you may leave behind. Otherwise, we will be just creating more Paddy Shivalkars, & Amol Majumdars! You were all great performers, and contributed immensely for Indian cricket. But as great batsmen say, TIMING is the essence of good batsman-ship. TIMING is also the essence of quitting gracefully and living in the heart of your fans forever. P.S. You guys can still enjoy your cricket, in fora like IPL, no?

  • Blade-Runner on August 24, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Its good to read about Zaheer Khan. I had almost forgotten about him. But thanks to cricinfo's constant reminders , we get to keep tabs on out-of-date indian players. And its amazing how these Indian players make headlines on cricinfo even when they don't do anything. Past 2 weeks i saw articles written about Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Ashwin and Zaheer for no good reason. Well, i guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. G'luck to y'all anyway !!

  • Blade-Runner on August 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Its good to read about Zaheer Khan. I had almost forgotten about him. But thanks to cricinfo's constant reminders , we get to keep tabs on out-of-date indian players. And its amazing how these Indian players make headlines on cricinfo even when they don't do anything. Past 2 weeks i saw articles written about Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Ashwin and Zaheer for no good reason. Well, i guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. G'luck to y'all anyway !!

  • on August 24, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    @Blade-Runner, werent u the guy who was making famous predictions before India matches in recent series incl. Champions trophy and were eating humble pie end of each match. Dude, If u dont want to see headlines about Indian players in espncricinfo simply dont log in, go and read some Srilankan local daily instead. India rule the cricket now, on and off the field! Well dont come back and make predictions about future Indian series again now.