India news February 19, 2014

Time for Zaheer to consider his future - Dravid

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rahul Dravid has said it's time for Zaheer Khan to start contemplating his future as it will be difficult for the bowler to survive the rigours of five Test matches in England. Zaheer made a comeback to the Test side for the tours of South Africa and New Zealand, and despite managing 51 overs and a five-wicket haul in the second innings of the Wellington Test, struggled to trouble the batsmen.

"Can he survive five Test matches in England? I am not so sure," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo. "I think it is a question he deeply needs to ask himself. He doesn't want to end up being someone who struggles his way through to the end. It can be really hard. And we have seen, he struggled to back up time and time again in these two series. So that's an issue he needs to consider, Indian selectors need to consider."

Zaheer is the second most successful India seamer behind Kapil Dev, with 311 wickets in 92 Tests, but his career has been plagued by injuries, the latest of which threatened to end his career. But Zaheer spent the summer in France to work on his fitness and made a comeback for the South Africa tour, one year after playing his last Test. However, the strain of bowling at Test level started showing in the second innings at Wanderers, where he managed just one wicket in 34 overs as South Africa almost overhauled a 458-run target.

"He has been a great bowler for India, arguably the finest India fast bowler since Kapil Dev," Dravid said. "I would hate to see Zaheer Khan end his career bowling 120-125 kph and limp away from international cricket. He has done a great job to get himself fit for these two series and to be fair, he has bowled well in patches, he has bowled consistently."

Speaking on India's spinners, Dravid said India would need to show patience with them as the bowlers in the past had also struggled in overseas conditions.

"We will need to show some patience with our spinners, whether it is R Ashwin or whether it's Jadeja, it's early days for both in international cricket," he said. "We have seen some greats of Indian cricket, including Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, take a long time to get used to bowling with a Kookaburra ball in overseas conditions.

"I thought we were a little bit impatient with Ashwin. We haven't given him as much a run as I would like, so I think there is an opportunity for him to get back into the side and play a few more games. He will only learn if he play more games."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • aravind on February 25, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Mr.Dravid is completely wright,zaheer is on & off stint in the team & also during the test matches as he is loosing the vigour a fast bowler should have,which means BCCI needs to improve the bench strength by giving oppurtunity for young fast bowlers at the highest level & where the game of cricket is played at its best, its the time for new breed for test cricket in india,we see the change it was played few years back where draw is a win,today u see results on 3rd OR 4th far as pace bowling is concerned BCCI should start thinking of more away series which encourages the pace bowling..

  • Android on February 22, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    I completely agree with dravid as Zaheer was looking unfit and I am not sure of him playing in 5 consecutive test but for me biggest problem Indian test team is its spin bowling department and number seven where jadeja doesn't fit at all neither do ashwin esp outside India I seriously feel for tests esp outside India selectors has look for the likes of Rishi Dhawan esp for England and Australia

  • Akshat on February 21, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    i seriously think this Indian test side has gone through significant changes in the last 1 year.and thus the team really needs to settle.the team has played good test cricket in the last two overseas series though the results show otherwise.and bowlers including zaheer has played important role in it.he is going to be most sought after bowler in the England tour for India and thus it would not make any sense to make such a change in a team that needs experience more than ever now...

  • Kannan on February 21, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    I respectfully disagree with Dravid that Zak should be left out of the England tour. Zaheer has a lot of experience playing in English conditions and his presence in the team will be invaluable as a player as well as a mentor for new bowlers. He knows several tricks with the ball, and English conditions will actually suit him better. It would be a huge mistake to leave Zak out of that tour.

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    yes zaheer should be part of indian team in eng & aus. problem is dhoni's captaincy in test.please take a specilist bowling coach

  • Dummy4 on February 21, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Normally his is the most sane voice in matters cricket. But is bias is clear here. Ashwin has failed miserably overseas despite given a long rope but Dravid still advocates more chances for him while not recommending any chances for the likes of Mishra. Zaheer should quit as no gas is left in his tank. Ishwar Pandey, Sandeep Sharma should be tried instead. Murali Vijay is another useless guy in so far as playing overseas is concerned. Manoj Tiwari should be in the team. if Rahane can fit the bill very good, if not, another opener is needed to share the responsibility with Dhawan.

  • HNL on February 21, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    Dravid has rightly highlighted the need for a cricketer to retire gracefully rather than being pushed out, just like what he did to himself. Zaheer is struggling and will continue to struggle because Indian bowling attack has been repeatedly asked to bowl long stints like the ones in JoBurg and Wellington. Zaheer is at best a bowler who can sustain for 20 or maximum 25 overs an innings. Beyond that, he will not be able to sustain the workload. He should make way for an youngster like Ishwar Pandey. Indian team is in the process of rebuilding and this is the right time for them to reshape the seam attack as well. Ideally, both Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron must be there for their pace backed up by 2 or 3 more youngsters who can crank it up to about 135 km with some seam and swing. Shami is already there showing lots of promise and able to hit close to 140 consistently, so just need a couple more of youngsters as part of team for the England trip.

  • Friend on February 21, 2014, 0:22 GMT

    In addition to retaining Zaheer in the XI, one more option I suggest is to bring back Gambhir/Sehwag, and Harbhajan. These are senior pros and while provide valuable runs and wickets in England. These guys still have a lot to offer and would be waiting for an opportunity to disprove their doubters. An out of form England team is the best opposition they can have to get back to form. This way these 3 seniors can also leave on a high from what may turn out to be their final tour of England. I will definitely play Dhawan as opener but have Gautam partner him instead of Vijay. Sehwag can play in the middle order in case Rohit misfires. But we will have to play 6 batsmen, Dhoni, 1 spinner, and 3 fast bowlers. As the incumbent, let Jadeja get his chance as the lone spinner and if it does not work, then Ashwin gets one test. Otherwise, Harbhajan gets the nod and completes the tour.

  • Ashok on February 20, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    @ Sir_Ivor: Indian Selectors need to sit with the Captain & design a philosophy for player development.Right now Dhoni & the Selectors are out of sync & Dhoni is left to choose his own XI. In the past the Selectors chose good Bowlers like Leg spinners Rahul Sharma, Mishra & Chawla, seamers Binny, Pandey+ Aaron, Yadev (both 145 KPH) & batsmen like Rahane, Tiwary - intent was to play them in XI. Dhoni's thinks that any new comer must spend his needs time on the bench for 20 games first.This approach has crippled the development of Bowlers for sure + killed all incentive for young talent to break into XI. If Dhoni is to remain as a captain, the Selectors should discuss with him which players they want to test by Playing them in XI. Your example of Bunny in XI for one ODI- as a passenger- is perfect example of killing any youngster's enthusiasm. It begs the question: Why do Selectors choose a squad of 15 when Dhoni wants his own XI for the entire ODI's or Test Series?What is the Answer?

  • Subramani on February 20, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    The sad part of the selection process of the Indian team is that the selectors are limiting their view to only few players from the domestic scene and secondly even those lucky to get selected are never given the chance to play by Dhoni and his so called tour management. Ishwar Pandey is 6'4" tall and bowls in the range of 135kmph on an average.He is accurate and hits the off stump line with a lot of consistency.He even bowled in the tour game in New Zealand.Yet he was not given a chance in either Test match. Binny a wonderful all rounder much in his father's Roger's mould had only one over in bowling to showcase his skills while the rest were just huffing away.Aaron took a couple or so of wickets in the two games he played.He was bowling in the 145 range with consistency and even hit 149 on a couple of occasions.Why on earth was he not persisted with ?The point is that the selectors must widen their view and blood Rahul,Bawne and Aparajit and try out new spinners from the U 19 team.

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