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February 19, 2014
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."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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