South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion December 15, 2010

Zaheer almost certain to miss first Test

132

India find themselves in their usual predicament of having to start a series without one of their big players. This time, on a tour of reckoning of sorts, it's their best bowler over the last three years, Zaheer Khan, who is struggling with a hamstring injury and is almost certainly going to miss the Centurion Test starting Thursday. "We'll take a call tomorrow morning before the start of the game," MS Dhoni said. "He is quite doubtful for tomorrow."

Dhoni knows how big a blow it will be to lose Zaheer, because while Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth might be dangerous, they don't quite guarantee the level of control that Zaheer does. "Zak has been our best bowler who has always led the bowling attack, whatever the conditions may be, whether it is a flat track or a seaming track," Dhoni said on the eve of the first Test. "He is always one bowler who has done really well. It is a blow, but at the same time we have to see the longer picture. We have to think about the World Cup also. We are so close to the World Cup, and any injury to any of your best 11 players may have a bigger impact, so that's also a bit of a concern. Till we are 100% sure about his fitness and injury, we won't risk playing him."

Leading up to the Test, over the two full training days in Centurion, Zaheer bowled only a few overs in the nets. On the first day, he only did fitness drills with Paul Close, the team physio. On the second, Zaheer manned the goalpost in a warm-up football game before a workout with Close and bowled for a bit in the nets. India didn't train on the eve of the match because it was raining in Johannesburg; at any rate they only do light training on the day before the match.

While Dhoni might not have sounded very hopeful, team sources didn't quite rule out Zaheer playing the first Test. "It is tight, but we are hopeful," is the general refrain. It is the nature of the injury - hamstring, and not picked by scans until two days ago - that makes the Indian team wary. If he risks playing, and aggravates it early on in the game, not only will he be gone for the whole Test, but for much longer, for these injuries take some time healing . If Zaheer does miss out, this will be the second such instance this year. In July, when India travelled to Sri Lanka without Zaheer, Sreesanth pulled up injured in the first training session in the country, and was sent back to India, leaving the team with Ishant Sharma and rookie Abhimanyu Mithun to share the workload on unresponsive tracks. Should Zaheer not make it, the rookie this time will be either Umesh Yadav or Jaidev Unadkat. Which begs the question of the national selectors as to where Mithun is, after he did commendably on a seam bowlers graveyard on a short notice.

However, it could be a great opportunity for one out of Unadkat and Yadav, with Unadkat being the favoured one right now by the virtue of being a left-arm medium-pacer. "We'll have to see [as to who replaces Zaheer]," Dhoni said. "Whoever plays will be making his debut whether it is Unadkat or Yadav. We will discuss with some other senior players, and accordingly pick the best possible XI."

That Dhoni discussed the prospects for a debutant made Zaheer's chances sound slimmer. "It's very important to enjoy the game rather than thinking about who you are replacing," Dhoni said, of whoever gets to play in Centurion. "Zak has done really well for us, but at the same time the guy who will be making his debut, what will be important for him will be to bowl to his strengths, what he knows the best, because of which he is a part of the international side right now. Enjoying the moment is one of the important things, rather than getting caught up with the expectation level and the pressure."

It will have to be a fast bowler to replace Zaheer because there is no way India are playing two spinners on a green pitch under overcast skies. However, Dhoni said he has seen greener tracks than the grassy, damp one that awaits them on Thursday. "Frankly speaking, when we saw the pitch yesterday it was a green track, but I don't think there was enough grass on the wicket," Dhoni said. "It is a normal Centurion wicket, which means it will assist the fast bowlers. But the greenest track I have seen in South Africa was the T20 game we played against the South Africans in the 2007 World Twenty20. I don't think this is anywhere close to the Dubran wicket that we saw then."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • DINESHCC on December 16, 2010, 11:08 GMT

    Gurujeee: Absolutely you are correct. Cricket is playing in 29 States in India. Every state people expect there should be a representaiton from their State. Whereas for every series the players required are only 15 or 16. I belong to TN and I will also be happy if Badri is included in the team. But Pujara is miles ahead of Badri. Compared to Ajay Jadeja and Rohit, Uthappa is a better player. Though not in the tests, he could have included in ODIs and T20s. Similarly Rahane, S.Dhawan, Pandey are consistently performing well. But when Sehwag and Gambhir are going with great guns, these guys entry in test arena is highly difficult. For non selection of their favourite players, people commenting adversely with abusing language against Srikkanth. Considering to the previous selection committee, this committee is exceedingly performing well.

  • ajithn1966 on December 16, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Bring back Balaji.He could smile and get the batsmen out.

  • Gurujeeee on December 16, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Guys...Indian selectors should be the highest paid job given the kind of pressure they have to work with. Having played cricket at some level, I understand the fact that even choosing the playing XI among the 14-15 players is a painful job which leaves 3-4 players disappointed. The fact is you cannot keep everybody happy and hence do your job with the best interest of the team and your Country. I being a Kannadiga would love to see some of my state players in the team given their performance in the last Ranji season and their current form. It is a natural wish like fans from any other state to have players from their state. But if you ask me if anybody fits into Indian test team from my side..I am not sure. I sometime feel that Vinaykumar has always got a raw deal as he along with Mithun are fantastic performers but we cannot see the thougt process that goes inside the closed door. There may be some plans which we will now know. Lets leave selectors do their job and stop abusing them.

  • Vivek_bhat on December 16, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    Please keep in mind Rosy, one should not forget Karnataka players contributions to Indian cricket ike Srinath, Kumble, Prasad, G.R.Vishwanath. Srikanth is not the person behind for at present success, Dhoni's captaincy and some good teamates led to the success.

  • on December 16, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Our Selectors got very weak memory. We still have bunch of pacer/swing bowler, who can cause big impact to places like SA. Instead they choose, two new-comer. RP Singh is still very fit and effective bowler when you have favorable conditions. Munaf is not too bad, if he is fully fit. You can also give second chance to Mithun who didn't do too bad in placid track of Sri Lanka. Give him some sound advice, he can bring some old Srinath into field. RP is my pick of fourth bowler though ahead of Yadav & Unadkat.

  • chokkashokka on December 16, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    still raining.....maybe everyone sits this one out and we try again with a fit Zaheer during the second test. India's bench is good enough for the bushmen but nothing would feel better than a full-strength India side with zaheer humiliating the home side. Let it rain let it rain let it rain....ho ho ho.

  • DINESHCC on December 16, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    KVKrrish there are 100 Mcgraths 200 Wasim Akrams are in India. But what is happening you know once a player selected for India and scored a 50 or taken 3 or 4 wickets in the debut test, the people of India, entire media, Govt. both State and Central started propogating that some one has come from heaven to save the cricket and the country. Immeditely some corporate companies appoint them as branch ambassadors for their products for 1000 crores per year. Then how they will play cricket. Australians Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh's full time profession is cricket. They are not the brand ambassadors for any product. If this situation continues we will not get players in the caliber of Wasim Akram, Mcgrath, Hayden, Viv Richards, Walsh etc. and we get only players like Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Kaarthik , Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh etc.

  • Tsotsi on December 16, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    James Jaganathan - wow you really are living in lala-land. What proof do you have that Khan is a better bowler than Steyn, other than your personal ramblings that is? The rankings have Steyn as better, their career averages say Steyn is better and their averages in the subcontinent definately say that Steyn is better. In Ind and Pak Steyn averages 20.2 and 24.7 (21.4 combined) while Khan averages 34.4 and 40.9 (35.1 combined). Steyn takes on average 6.3 per test with a strike rate of 40.4 while Khan only takes 3.4 wickets per test with a strike rate of 58.5.

    Khan is a very good bowler but, Steyn is better than Khan...period.

  • Alexk400 on December 16, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    Mithun was horrible. Yes he was doing the job like machine but there was nothing special in his armoury. Plain below average. Munaf patel may be good but 5 days he won't even field. He is that bad. P kumar is good for first 10 overs , once swing gone he throw laddus.

    Where is deepak chahar? He good be great.

  • anver777 on December 16, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Indian team is gonna miss Zaheer in the 1st test bc, he's one of the trump card for India in recent times......hope he recover soon!!!!!!

  • DINESHCC on December 16, 2010, 11:08 GMT

    Gurujeee: Absolutely you are correct. Cricket is playing in 29 States in India. Every state people expect there should be a representaiton from their State. Whereas for every series the players required are only 15 or 16. I belong to TN and I will also be happy if Badri is included in the team. But Pujara is miles ahead of Badri. Compared to Ajay Jadeja and Rohit, Uthappa is a better player. Though not in the tests, he could have included in ODIs and T20s. Similarly Rahane, S.Dhawan, Pandey are consistently performing well. But when Sehwag and Gambhir are going with great guns, these guys entry in test arena is highly difficult. For non selection of their favourite players, people commenting adversely with abusing language against Srikkanth. Considering to the previous selection committee, this committee is exceedingly performing well.

  • ajithn1966 on December 16, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Bring back Balaji.He could smile and get the batsmen out.

  • Gurujeeee on December 16, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Guys...Indian selectors should be the highest paid job given the kind of pressure they have to work with. Having played cricket at some level, I understand the fact that even choosing the playing XI among the 14-15 players is a painful job which leaves 3-4 players disappointed. The fact is you cannot keep everybody happy and hence do your job with the best interest of the team and your Country. I being a Kannadiga would love to see some of my state players in the team given their performance in the last Ranji season and their current form. It is a natural wish like fans from any other state to have players from their state. But if you ask me if anybody fits into Indian test team from my side..I am not sure. I sometime feel that Vinaykumar has always got a raw deal as he along with Mithun are fantastic performers but we cannot see the thougt process that goes inside the closed door. There may be some plans which we will now know. Lets leave selectors do their job and stop abusing them.

  • Vivek_bhat on December 16, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    Please keep in mind Rosy, one should not forget Karnataka players contributions to Indian cricket ike Srinath, Kumble, Prasad, G.R.Vishwanath. Srikanth is not the person behind for at present success, Dhoni's captaincy and some good teamates led to the success.

  • on December 16, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Our Selectors got very weak memory. We still have bunch of pacer/swing bowler, who can cause big impact to places like SA. Instead they choose, two new-comer. RP Singh is still very fit and effective bowler when you have favorable conditions. Munaf is not too bad, if he is fully fit. You can also give second chance to Mithun who didn't do too bad in placid track of Sri Lanka. Give him some sound advice, he can bring some old Srinath into field. RP is my pick of fourth bowler though ahead of Yadav & Unadkat.

  • chokkashokka on December 16, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    still raining.....maybe everyone sits this one out and we try again with a fit Zaheer during the second test. India's bench is good enough for the bushmen but nothing would feel better than a full-strength India side with zaheer humiliating the home side. Let it rain let it rain let it rain....ho ho ho.

  • DINESHCC on December 16, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    KVKrrish there are 100 Mcgraths 200 Wasim Akrams are in India. But what is happening you know once a player selected for India and scored a 50 or taken 3 or 4 wickets in the debut test, the people of India, entire media, Govt. both State and Central started propogating that some one has come from heaven to save the cricket and the country. Immeditely some corporate companies appoint them as branch ambassadors for their products for 1000 crores per year. Then how they will play cricket. Australians Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh's full time profession is cricket. They are not the brand ambassadors for any product. If this situation continues we will not get players in the caliber of Wasim Akram, Mcgrath, Hayden, Viv Richards, Walsh etc. and we get only players like Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Kaarthik , Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh etc.

  • Tsotsi on December 16, 2010, 8:27 GMT

    James Jaganathan - wow you really are living in lala-land. What proof do you have that Khan is a better bowler than Steyn, other than your personal ramblings that is? The rankings have Steyn as better, their career averages say Steyn is better and their averages in the subcontinent definately say that Steyn is better. In Ind and Pak Steyn averages 20.2 and 24.7 (21.4 combined) while Khan averages 34.4 and 40.9 (35.1 combined). Steyn takes on average 6.3 per test with a strike rate of 40.4 while Khan only takes 3.4 wickets per test with a strike rate of 58.5.

    Khan is a very good bowler but, Steyn is better than Khan...period.

  • Alexk400 on December 16, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    Mithun was horrible. Yes he was doing the job like machine but there was nothing special in his armoury. Plain below average. Munaf patel may be good but 5 days he won't even field. He is that bad. P kumar is good for first 10 overs , once swing gone he throw laddus.

    Where is deepak chahar? He good be great.

  • anver777 on December 16, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    Indian team is gonna miss Zaheer in the 1st test bc, he's one of the trump card for India in recent times......hope he recover soon!!!!!!

  • on December 16, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    To RanjithShetty, lets wait for Kumble to be the chairman of BCCI and put few more karanataka players in Indian side and lets start see again our falls in international cricket. Though, I am not a Chennai fan, after Srikkanth being the chairman, India got more success in Home and Away. So, be realistic and express your comments in a good way.

  • ajaydesai on December 16, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    No doubt ZAK is good bowler but fitness should be given priority. Irfan Pathan should be given chance to prove his capability.

  • k.sanjeet83 on December 16, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    oh god!stop the rain...and giv time to get milestone for us be sachin tendulkar...

  • bang_on_target on December 16, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    india has a much balanced side this time but compared to the fast bowling attack of safica this side is likely to struggle to win the series.

  • KrishnaVinod on December 16, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Why can't we get a bowler like Mc Grath or some other greats? Is it because of toiling sub continent conditions or lack of proper arrangements to bring in the best from all over the country. If with such a small population Aussies,SA and other countries get so many best bowlers, why cant India??

  • bang_on_target on December 16, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    well...i think sudeep tyagi has bowled very well in the domestic season this year..he is a much improved bowler now and is getting better..why not reward him for the good show in domestic ckt?munaf patel is much better than the rest of the pack in terms of control and accuracy...p kumar looks very ordinary on pitches not helping his style of bowling...umesh yadav looks very promising but he should be groomed carefully,why push him to the stormy sea of international ckt so early?same is true about unadkat,sangwan and dhawal kulkarni..however i rate sudeep tyagi higher than rp,praveen and yadab as a test bowler

  • Yogi1985 on December 16, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    where is AB Agarkar Don't forgot his old perfomance,he is good allrounder and wicket taker.mr sri bring back him to india team.

  • wincrick on December 16, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    The team management and the board should be held responsible for this. Zaheer got injured and missed the 3rd test against NZ and afterwards he was included in the ODIs vs NZ which was a mistake as break from the ODIs would have helped him to be fresh for the first test vs SA which is more important as compared to couple of ODIs vs NZ. Without Zaheer Indian bowling looks depleted as he is the main as well as reliable bowler for India.

    Abhijith Radhakrishnan

  • kaarthik9925 on December 16, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    How can you say that If Zaheer is not there India is not going to win.If you see the the last test India won without Zaheer.So I guess there is not much to worry about.

  • on December 16, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    would be really great if india doesnt bring in nehra or munaf or praveen ,india unlike other teams doesnt mix tests with odis which makes them a reliable force on both formats...

  • on December 16, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    Have to agree with aarpee2, but I dont think there was any sense in touring SA 2 months before the WC anyways. They should have done that AFTER the WC but of course IPL to koi chhodega nahi.

  • on December 16, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    i think in place of zak ifran pathan is better bcoz he will manage in both batting nd bowling strength he also bowls yorker nd shortlength nd fulllength balls

  • Mannix16 on December 16, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Irfan Pathan is up and down, but would be great pick... dont' know what happened to him... cricinfo said his last first class was in february.... what happened to balaji? and it would be good to send in nehra or praveen just because of their experience rather than a debutant who probably won't play again unless they do a good job...

  • Siddiee on December 16, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    really look forward for Umesh Yadav's debut, ive seen him bowling fast on dead indian pitches so there is every chance he can come good on SA pitches. Also, since there isnt much footage available on him, he could well be the surprise factor for SA batting lineup

  • DINESHCC on December 16, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    RanjitShetty: How many TN players selected are for the SA series? After becoming SCC, Srikkanth not selected more than two players from TN for any of the series. In fact the players selected from TN for the series are also asked to sit on the bench. Whereas during 90s there were 7 playes in the indian team from KN and there were minimum 5 players continuously in the team for about 6 years. OK. your concern is non selection of Mithun and Uthappa. Mithun as you know in the SL series was identified as a batsman rather than a bowler. On Uthappa's selection on what basis you are supporting him I do not know. If he is to be selected as a second keeper, he is not fit enough to do the job since Parthiv Patel and Naman Ojha are the second line keepers. For opene role Rahane & Shikar Dhawan are waiting. Uthappa can be considered only for ODIs and T20s. Please don't abuse Srikant. There may be a difference of opinion beween Captain cool and Uthappa and I.Pathan. For which don't blame SCC.

  • critic12345 on December 16, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    Nehra & Munaf are one day bowlers,mainly because of their lack of fitness. Praveen kumar can be good in English conditions ,but I dont rate him good enough to be in Test side,especially with his current bowling form.With the form he is in, I would ve definitely taken Ashwin in the squad. He was the man of te series in CL there last year,so knows about the pitch and had extracted some spin from it. I woud rather go with him and Bahjji against SA.We dont have him there, so have to choose only from whom we got in squad. I think Umesh yadav will suit for today.

  • on December 16, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    "Mr JustOUT" Zaheer is a better bowler compared to Steyn, its just that Steyn mostly bowls in a bouncy and seaming tracks but Zaheer bowls mostly in batsman friendly subcontinent tracks.. But if Zaheer keeps bowling on the tracks where steyn is bowling definitely he would be considered lot better than Steyn.. So Zaheer is a better bowler compared to Steyn.

  • vineetkarthi on December 16, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    India on the backfoot straight away. Doubt if India can save this match, let alone win it.

  • CricRider on December 16, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    where is irfan pathan Don't forgot his old perfomance

  • nikhilbengeri on December 16, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    Zak will be missed terribly.. But Abhimanyu Mithun or even Ashish nehra would have been the ideal choice to replace him.. I dont understand why the selectors are taking such risks of playing debutants on such a highly important and much spoken tour of SA. Pls give a thought..

  • CricRider on December 16, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    just compare with munaf and nehra has getting more chance but they didn't give the chance to irfan pathan

  • CricRider on December 16, 2010, 3:56 GMT

    where is irfan pathan he is d best performer bowler+batsman+good fielder

    Whats up Dhoni?

  • shovwar on December 16, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    @Rana...Who is the best in ODI and Test would only be decided after this series.....Because if India lose both the Test and ODI series in SA, would you still call India the best? And India does win...I will agree with you....till then no one is the best yet....This is the Final Frontier indeed.....

  • on December 16, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    ther r lots quality pacers in country! wer r dey?

  • satanswish on December 16, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Playing Zaheer in NZ ODI series was most stupid decision ever.

  • pachako on December 16, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    zaheer india s best bowler with average >35 not playing due to hamstring, really indian finds execuse for the test series lost.

  • yashwanth123 on December 16, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    i think rp singh is also a good bowler . he is the most wicket taker in ipl 2 which was held in south africa .he has experience in those bouncy tracks . so r p can also replace zaheer and he is the best choice.

  • suddyv on December 16, 2010, 2:49 GMT

    Cricket is a team game. I feel Still India has better bowlers to exploit the conditions. Zak absence means India has to fight it out to win this test match. If rain god allows play for 3 or 4 days, result is definite. Umesh and Pujara will be a good selection. Hmm Interesting start to the series. Definitely this series is going to end up draw.

  • on December 16, 2010, 2:32 GMT

    India should take proper steps for First bowler,they have no any more choise without ZAK.what about Irfan Pathan???

  • on December 16, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    INDIA SIDE IS THE BEST IN TEST AND ODI .BUT NOW INDIA NEED A FAST BOWLER. I GIVEN SUGGESTION FOR SELECTOR HIS CHOOSE FASTER BOWLER( DL CHAHAR ,PANKAJ)FROM RAJASTHAN RANJI TEAM HIS BOTH REPLACE ZAHEER

  • aarpee2 on December 16, 2010, 2:09 GMT

    Mindless tactic in playing and risking Zak in the NZ ODI's when Bhajji,Raina and Ishant were rested has resulted in going to SA with a self-inflicted problem on the eve of the Test and starting on the backfoot

  • on December 16, 2010, 2:09 GMT

    whr is anehra?whr is praveen?whr is munaf?dey were d best ODI bowlers n y cant any one play as d back up seaner in test?

  • Anand1483 on December 16, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    Good Morning

    Never worry zak now. Let him recover. Meanwhile, i would bet on Munaf Patel in place of zak. South African pitches are made for a Seamer like him. He can move the ball both the ways and pick up wickets at ease.

    To the mgmt team, pls pick munaf patel.

    All the very best to the team.

  • mkstraight on December 16, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    well i dont think that he will make any difference in the match.

  • biscuit2009 on December 16, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    OMG! Where is Irfan Pathan?

  • on December 16, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    I think Praveen kumar is the best choice after Zaheer, dont know if hes injured or what..

  • on December 15, 2010, 23:57 GMT

    I think Praveen kumar is the best choice after Zaheer, dont know if hes injured or what..

  • on December 15, 2010, 23:52 GMT

    Why India is allowed to reject UDRS? It lends credibility to umpiring and outcome of the match. Why is India holding back whereas other 9 Test Playing Countries have accepted it. If UDRS is not perfect, neither are umpires. If UDRS was in action in all the games played in India, I am certain India would not be 1st place in Test Cricket.

  • golax on December 15, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    I would like to see Unaidkat play, albeit not at the expense of Zak. Akram said he had a good future. Not that everyone with that testimonial has gone on to be great, but it would still be interesting to see what he has to offer. The last I remember Unaidkat was in a medium-pace range or a touch above. But Umesh Yadav is definitely much faster and I guess that got him the selection ahead of Abhimanyu, in the quest for the ever-elusive genuine Indian quick.

  • RanjithShettyJordan on December 15, 2010, 22:00 GMT

    Leaving mithun for this series and leaving out uttappa clearly shows that srikanth don't want to select any player from karnataka.We will wait till kumble becomes the chairman of selectors and president of BCCI.I never thought cricketer like srikanth will follow the footsteps of gavasker.Because of his son playing for chennai and in the IPL for chennai team he is doing the discrimination on basis of region and language.Mr.srikanth we were there to support you , we are here to watch you and we will be there to watch you and your sons performance.You are the only shameless person watching and supporting chennai team in IPL being a Chief of selectors.Shame on you.You are the selector for india not for tamilnadu.You are raiding on your luck with dhoni.Before spoiling your name or your sons carrier,please do meaningfull thing, what is required for india at this point of time.

  • on December 15, 2010, 22:00 GMT

    Indian selectors are butt-heads. They treat the "non-playing" members of the squad as a way to curry political favors. Often this comes back to bite us in the bottom - So we end up debuting guys like Yadav or Unadkat. Soft targets for Kallis and Co.

  • on December 15, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    my question is why Praveen kumar has never been tried even against NZ? He can swing the ball both ways and he is accurate and makes batsmen play. About nehra, I can understand because he is injury prone and india wants to keep him away from 5 day matches which require a lot of physical labour and fitness. same with munaf. But why praveen has never been tried?

  • Alexk400 on December 15, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    if steyn played for INDIA , He would be the GOD!. India never had a bowler who can clean up tail like freight train and get some top class wicket also. When it seam and swings , Steyn is completely unplayable. We saw it in nagpur. He is totally awsome.

    If steyn played for INDIA , india would be Undisputed number 1. Sachin do not need to choke under pressure because bowler win the game for india and all sachin century would be in winning and people calling sachin GOD of GOD. Pathetic if you ask me.

    In India people think of Fake Stuff greater. Infact it is just all humanity nature. The guy (fast bowlers) who work his arse off will never get credit in anything.

  • on December 15, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    People might say I am crazy. But I think someone like RP should have got a look in. I mean I know he has failed to deliver recently. But thats mostly been on rubbish pitches. Also, his bowling was very threatening on English and South African pitches in recent series here. I particularly remember the England series a few years back where he was swinging the ball like crazy as also in the first t20I world cup in SA. He would have been good cover for Zak.

    There should be some logic in how they are allocating responsibilities for different formats and rotating the pool. We have Zak, Ishant, Sree, Nehra, Munaf, Praveen, RP and then the new guys- Yadav, Unadkat and Mithun...This pool needs to be wisely groomed...

  • itduzz on December 15, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    Zaheer, Indian biggest player averages almost 40 on SA green pitches.

  • srisri on December 15, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    Almost Certain.....? Interesting.. never heard of that! Now Sehwag has to score even faster to make up for this.

  • A_J.. on December 15, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    Don't indulge in further "Do's", & "Don'ts", b4 d start of such n important encounter. It's nt Zaheer's fault, d8 he's hamstrung.Who is fit, he'll gonna Play; Who's nt well, shud b rstd. Zaheer's absence will b a big blow, bt pass up chance 2 Young Blood, 4 Replacements,& who knows, they will create History, ahead of "Over-Talking" Proteas. I think Unadkat, will b gud option; den in comparison 2 Yadav; 'coz He's a Left arm paceman, & World knows (e1 the Host's too), How much Smith is comfortable againest lefty pacers deliveries.

  • AdmireZAK on December 15, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    i think Munaf and Nehra played more matches than the overs bowled by Yadav and Undkat(in T20Is)? i agree with NEW_WIND selectors should be questioned,however Lucky SA lucky Smith,he is going to get some more deliveris to play in ZAKs absence.

  • on December 15, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    where is irfan?? wht does indian selector??

  • on December 15, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-india-2010/engine/match/435869.html

    see dis unadkat performance in lively pitch........... he deserves a go @ centurion..... he will b a better variety bowler than mithun...... he will rock if selected in final XI......

  • passionate_cricket_follower on December 15, 2010, 20:32 GMT

    why isn't praveen kumar not tried for tests? i don't see anything wrong with it. he has the art of reverse swinging it, and that might have been useful in the seaming tracks of SA. praveen in my opinion would be better than the untested rookies. also he'd be an useful lower order bat should there be a batting collapse.

  • vaidyar on December 15, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    Better to play 2 spinners than risk a rookie fast bowler. Still wondering what Mithun did wrong. His fitness was pretty good and he was ready to bowl long spells and bowl well too.

  • Ajaysonic on December 15, 2010, 20:24 GMT

    Its better to know beforehand that Zaheer is unfit rather than getting injured during the test match (this way, a fit player rightfully gets his place in the playing eleven). I hope, whoever takes Zaheer' place makes the most of the opportunity.

    Of course, i would like India to win the series in SA this year but i would take 0-0, 1-1 anyday given the past test series results in South African backyard.

  • tirtha16 on December 15, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    I hope Jaidev gets a chance this this over Yadav coz 1> Jaidev is a left arm seam bowler and we should add him as we have 2 right armers. 2> He moves the ball both ways which Yadav can't. 3> Wasim Akram was vastly impressed by him while coaching the KKR bowling unit and Akram is a legend and he might be right..

    I think selectors have done the right thing by not picking Nehera or Praveen as the are very crucial part of the WC playing XI and they haven't played lots of five day matches in recent past..And I am sorry to say that neither Munaf nor Mithun is talented enough to play Test matches. Selectors must have thought to give chance to the new boys. I think RP.Singh should have a go if he is fit for International cricket

  • on December 15, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    It is seriously disturbing and a huge setback for the Indian team, its gonna be a big match because South africa has won 80% of their last 15 tests here in centurion.We are definitely going to have a tough time losing our pace spearhead. Sreesanth and ishant must give their 100%, sree must take inspiration from that helluva performance he made in 2006-07 and it is now in the hands of sree to raise to the occasion and head our bowling and share his valuable experience with ishant and back him. Fitness has been a huge concern for the Indian pacers and almost every Indian pacer has been tormented in the last 5 years and had a huge lay off ashish nehra and laksh balaji are the classic examples for the same and even zaheer has had his fair share. It is high time NCA and bowling academies like MRF stress more on fitness. We must also work hard to strengthen our reserve which is depleting and with WC round the corner it definitely rings a bell.

  • cricket_for_all on December 15, 2010, 19:27 GMT

    @kesavramesh: I agree with you man!!!. They should listen to the greats. There are several reasons to get injured in sub-continental pitches. 1. Almost all sub-continent pitches are utter flat. The fast bowlers, who are capable of getting wickets even in this dead pitch (Zahir, Malinga, Akthar, etc..) , have to give almost their soul to get wickets. This put them in permanent injury list. If you can take 40 wickets in 5 days they you won't have injury like this. Of course the bowlers should keep their body fit. It is sick to hear the injury stuffs again and again and again. 2. T-20 is an extra burden to the fast bowlers. We never heard like this when the greats, Kapil, Imaran, etc.., were playing.

  • AK47_pk on December 15, 2010, 19:17 GMT

    how can india dream of beating SA when they cant find a replacement of a bowler like Zaheer?? lol.they talk about him like hes kind of brett lee, shoaib, mcgrath or wasim.

  • on December 15, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    This is just in (read it somewhere on web)..

    India has included a new, uncapped face - Rohan Singh - to their camp and he will be flying out to SA tomorrow. Rohan is all but 3 years old but have show plenty of talent in his home breaking things around by his bowling actions. Chairman of selectors, K Shrikanth was very impressed with his abilities and said - "he is fresh and talented and will be a surprise package for SA team. Given the form he is in, I have no doubts he will be taking over the mantle easily..".

  • on December 15, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    zak shudnt have played nz series if he waz nt 100% fit....evry1 knows how he important he iz for india specialy in dis series (luking at his records aginst smith),by seeing dis news the southafrican skipper must have been in seven sky....nd he being captain can hell lot of affect team's performance...pray for zak to play 1st test...oderwize atleast get smith out early being ishant the darkhorse..!!

  • on December 15, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    india will win and good luck to me team from your vps.karan

  • on December 15, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    [sarcasm] Don't worry, Ishant and Sreesanth will match up well with Steyn and Morkel. The pace attacks were basically level, remember? Sidarth said so in his series preview. I mean, as we all know, India's seamers have been tearing through everyone of late, so no worries, folks. [/sarcasm] In all seriousness, good luck to India, but this is a huge blow.

  • kesavramesh on December 15, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Zzac would have played even if he is half-fit IF IT WAS AN IPL match for MI. This being an international match he wont play. These folks especially fast bowlers need to listen to what Kapil and Imran agreed. They JOG for miles and not just sit in the GYM. If Gary would have asked Zac, Ishant and Sree to JOG in SA for the past one week that would have enabled them to stay for 6 hours on a match day. Unless and until these blockes listen to their front runners we are going to see this happen for a long time in Indian cricket.

  • on December 15, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    I don't find any reason not taking Nehra or Munaf in the side in this kind of important series..............

  • New_Wind on December 15, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    Srikanth and Co has done it again. After playing W. Saha as specialist batsman against SA last yera now the highly inexperienced (or only T20 experienced) duo of Yadav and Undkat will make a debut. Where is Mithun? Is there any accountability on selector's part or no?

  • VincentSunder on December 15, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    Fully agree with Vimal.

  • on December 15, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    I dont understand why bowlers of experience Praveen Kumar or Ashish Nehra are not being tried at Test level ??

  • on December 15, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    this is bad we wanted to see teams with their full strength Sa is lucky if zack doesn't makes it to the 11 moreover smith is lucky

  • mqry on December 15, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    S.Aravind(Karnataka) may be the best left arm pacer in the country if we go strictly go by Ranji records for the last 2 seasons.. I hope this hardworking tall lad gets due reward in this season atleast

  • Achillesofthisera on December 15, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    This is devastating. I forgot when was the last time India started an important series with their 1st choice XI and everyone being fit. For the whole of this year Zaheer had injury concerns, why don't they treat it all in once. Indian players have to be fitter. Also without zaheer I don't know how India will take 20 wickets. Very very disappointing.

  • dersh on December 15, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    who will think abt ashes now.....lols pls gve me a ticket to go Centurion veeru will hit a 100 hooooooooooooo

  • cricdick on December 15, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Over use of this strike bowler will harm India. he should not have played any test against NZ. SA is a wonderful team, esp.at home and India has a task on hand. Anyway,looks like it will be engrossing series.

  • on December 15, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    What a way to start a series! A humdinger on the cards with the No.1 tag at stake with what? No practice match and our strike bowler cooling his heels on the eve of the first test match played on a lively track under overcast conditions! Not encouraging at all! For all their achievements in the past and against NZ in the 3rd test recently, Ishant and Sreesanth aren't consistent enough. Hope the pressure of our bowling dept. doesn't get into the minds of our batsmen ending up playing too cautiously or too adventurously

  • ShahzanHaiderBukhari on December 15, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    It will make no difference to the current series whether Zaheer plays or not as India is going to lose the series by 3-0. Indian bowlers and batsmen are the heroes at their own dead pitches. South Africa is going to jolt them altogether. Moreover, Indian players have undeservedly been over-rated. Let's us where the so-called No.1 India stand in the ranking after the South Africa series.

  • ibtmubarak on December 15, 2010, 17:19 GMT

    Zaheer should take rest becoz SA series is not so important than World cup.Team should concentrate more on world cup match. Indian batsman should score more runs especially waiting for tendulkar 50 th century.

  • intcamd on December 15, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Bye bye Zaheer and bye bye India's chances at the Centurion. Get out with a draw and focus on test2. Going in with 2 spinners is a crazy idea.

  • on December 15, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    Huge Blow for India, that too playing the first test on a bouncy track.. Zaheer shouldn't have played ODI against Newzeland. I have mentioned earlier in my comments regarding his fitness issue before the Newzeland ODI game.. Dono why they take unnecessary risk with the key players in a series (Newzeland ODI) which was already won by India..

  • mcsdl on December 15, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    U can start putting ur money on guys....! Theres only 2 possible results now.... Either India loose (which is more likely) or bat for a draw....!

  • on December 15, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    I believe that in addition to Zaheer, Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel and Abhimanyu Mithun instead of Unadkat and Yadav should have been taken to Sounth Africa. Mithun performed very well on Sri Lankan dead pitchs which was his last tour. And, Munaf performed well in the last one day series against NZ.

  • on December 15, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    Yeah we must keep him for the world cup.....still in SA we r going to play with the No2 players..

  • on December 15, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    Huge blow if Zaheer cant make it, but then again given his injury record, hardly a seismic surprise. But it does beg the question of the selectors as where is the bench strength ? Why was Mithun overlooked ? Where is the in form Munaf ? Praveen Kumar ? Instead we will have to throw in some untested (and in all probability unready) rookies. Good luck to them, but damn the selectors!

  • Razor88 on December 15, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    To everyone - I think India Managed to get 20 wickets against the Kiwis,when he was Injured and was rested.I think that was the only time we could manage that in that series.Lets not Underestimate our own Bowling attack!!.I'll be Backing them to Full Extent,Seriously Hope they Consider a Lefty to Replace a Lefty.Now we Badly need Munaf or RP Singh.They might well enuf to replace him.I know Munaf is a Right arm Pacer,He is much Consistent than any Indian Pacer baring Zaheer.Back of a Length is always on the cards for him.He is not been picked For test jus because of what happened to him last time when he Toured SA.

  • on December 15, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Zak not Playing reduces 50% of our chances...I was eagerly waiting for his battle with Graeme Smith...Sreesanth & Sharma r good supporting bowlers,but not enough to lead the attack!

  • Raki99 on December 15, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    Idiot Selectors, Why did he play in those two oneday games? nd as the author says Where is poor Mithun? What did he do wrong? Seriousely what is wong with the selectors why so much chopping is going on with players? One needs to ask this question to to this paid selection panel.

  • Caveman. on December 15, 2010, 16:32 GMT

    And with that, India's already slim chances in the series becomes slimmer. I have a feeling that India will start out trying to 'save" the 1st test rather than win it, which is a surefire road to disaster at the Centurion.

    It was always a stupid decision to select two greenhorn fast bowlers and now it threatens to blow up on their face. If they had Nehra in the squad, their might at least have been some semblance of experience in the bowling line up.

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on December 15, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Gosh...It shouldve been Mithun in place of Yadav/Unadkat to be in line to replace Zaheer Khan. Poor Mithun gets to toil away on SL's crappy pitches while Unadkat/Yadav (surely loads of talent but with close to zero Ranji pedigree) get to stake their claims on a responsive surface. Poor choice by the selectors, who admittedly have not gotten many wrong over the past couple of years.

  • GeekyCricket on December 15, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    I would have loved to see R.P Singh getting picked for South Africa series.People would argue about his current form.But, i think he would have been very handfull in South Africa. He has always performed well outside India. When India toured Australia, he performed extremely well as the leader of pace attack in the absence of zaheer. He should have been picked, but our selectors think otherwise. Lets hope who ever gets picked does the job well. I feel sad for Abhmanyu Mithun though...what wrong did he do to get dropped???

  • on December 15, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    zak's injury is fake!!!! dese r all gimmick!!!! he will definitely play 2mw

  • Leb_un on December 15, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    Zahir Khan is really good assert to India but I am surprised about his fitness. Does he keep his body fit? OR what?. Injury is part of sport but this is too much. Each and every match he is having this fitness problem. He should get some advise from Kapil to be honest.

  • Pujara on December 15, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    MS is right. India should not risk Zak with this kind of injury. Hamstring injury does not heal over night and Zak can be out for long period if proper tretment and rest in not given. India does have alternative in Unadkat and Yadav. Yadav is quicker of the duo but wutever I have read or seen Unadkat is more of an accurate bowler who relies more on to condition. I think in Zak's absence India is better of giving debut to Unadkat's accuracy rather then a bit of a pace from Yadav. Also, I am not sure this will happen but given the nature of a wicket India should play Pujara instead Raina. If Raina plays its going to be extremely difficult for him to survive in these type of conditions. Raina's form has been ordinary lately and Pujara's technique will be handy in this trying conditions. Any event wutever the team might be for 1st game. All the very best to team India!!!!!!

  • apoorva13 on December 15, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    As rightly mentioned in the article...why was Mithun not picked? Srikkanth needs to be dumped for doing these errors again and again...No hard feelings against Unadkat and Umesh...but with the series being as huge as this we can not take things lightly...even Munaf Patel with all his lazy attitude has experience of bowling in Test matches...he would be of help with his nagging line and length....

  • on December 15, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    this guy averages 39 in south africa and he's india's best bowler?!! lol...

  • on December 15, 2010, 16:06 GMT

    India should have had some experienced seamer rather than taking 2 rookies. some one like nehra, munaf, rp should have been part of touring party

  • Prats6 on December 15, 2010, 16:05 GMT

    Zak plays one game and misses 10. . Something's horribly wrong with either him or our fitness trainers. He now only plays in IPL/CL/ etc etc ...

  • DADA on December 15, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    ZAK will be missed for sure... I would like to stress on something else here... who is our replacement... The brilliant selectors decided to bring to youngsters as back up... Any T D and H would have selected at least one experienced backup seamer like Munaf or Praveen kumar but not our selectors.. especially when touring SA.... What a pathetic situation....

  • on December 15, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Abhimanyu Mithun is consistently getting wins for Karnataka in Ranji matches on going and has done pretty good when he last played for India. Selectors, pls be consistent when choosing players and groom them to become future spearheads of attacks.

  • sportz247 on December 15, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    zaheer absence may not pull weight of team india..B'coz india draw the series in srilanka without zaheer and the won test match against NZ(where zak played in drawn 2 test matches) without zak.recent tours started with sreesanth injured just before first test match in the tour of srilanka.. even aussies tour started as harbhajan is doubt for first test.. so these are usual to team india and inshant injured and saved the mohali test and expected ones.

  • on December 15, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    thanx cricinfo.thanx 4 posting my very 1st comment to ur site.

  • on December 15, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    What a stupid decision it was to play Zak in that insignificant ODI against NZ. But Zak's fitness is like porcelain - you practically have to keep him wrapped in cotton wool. It makes one nostalgic for the totally reliable ruggedness of Kapil Dev.

  • sonofchennai on December 15, 2010, 15:13 GMT

    Why d bloody hell he was played in the ODIs agnst kiwis..match practice is not justified...

  • on December 15, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    well, well, well, i dont understand how indian selectors pick a squad. See the scenario now, if Zaheer is not playing, who is gonna replace him? A little known pace bowler making his debut??? lol, if it was a tour of Zimbabwe or Kenya for that matter, it would have been okay. But india considers this tour as one of theirs biggest as No 1 playing No 2. So, india gonna field a debutant?? where is Munaf Patel, or RP Singh or Ashish Nehra or Praveen Kumar. I dont understand this strategy. Indians playing SA on their own deck and they may have to field a debutant. Joke of the year??!! I thought Wasim Jaffer was a better choice than Gambhir. Sure, Gambhir excels against spinners in subcontinent conditions. (Against faster bowlers, he can only scores if he advances down the track). How is he gonna handle Dale Steyn & Co. I doubt if he gets any score in excess of 30 in all innings. Poor selection.

  • on December 15, 2010, 14:35 GMT

    Zaheer Khan has to be kept out of competitive cricket until he fully recovers from his ailments. Even if it goes to the extent of him announcing his retirement from cricket. He plays a one off match and sits out for the next 5 matches or so. This is not expected of him being an International player. Hope the selectors make a note of this.

  • on December 15, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    If zaheer not plays in the first test match,it would be a big blow for team india..

  • on December 15, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    its really gonna b a big blow if zak doesnt play. But never d less this situation may boost a debutant to give his best.

  • Nampally on December 15, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    I had stated in cric info columns when Zaheer was selected to play in the ODI against NZ that it was a big mistake in testing Zaheer's injury so soon.But the Indian selectors seem to be more focussed on one game than looking at the long term future of the team.It is not too late to send Zaheer back to India and put him on intensive Physio to make acomplete recovery.Then proceed with physical training to rebuild the muscle strength to its full level before the World cup. Yadhev and Unadkat are available in the squad. They may not any where near Zaheer's standard but playing a 50% fit Zaheer is wasting one bowler's spot.Zaheer is not fit now nor will he be fit for next 2 tests because hamstring injuries do not mend overnight. They can last for months if not treated in a timely manner.For the first test if it is a fast bowlers' wicket, include Yadhev as the third paceman + one spinner. Focus on batting with a 600 total. India can win with this total with a winning attitude/actions.Jai Ho.

  • on December 15, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    Good thing to do with zak is give him rest so that he can play the 2nd & 3rd test..otherwise he may lose the entire series..It will be huge boost if 19 yr old Unadkat gets a chance in these seaming conditions.

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    1. Gautam Gambhir 2. Virender Sehwag 3. Rahul Dravid 4. Sachin Tendulkar 5. VVS Laxman 6. Suresh Raina 7. MS Dhoni 8. Harbhajan Singh 9. Ishant Sharma 10. Sreesanth 11. Jaidev Unadkat (A left-arm fast bowler with OK domestic record as a replacement for a left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan)

  • shibukunnamthanam on December 15, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Why BCCI allowed to played 2 ODI series against New Zealand. Zaheer need more rest before starting S A series. He is India no 1 Bowler..

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    ZAK has been having a terrible fitness year. Should work on it........

  • Spelele on December 15, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Zaheer please get better; we don't want any excuses from the Indians after trashing them come tomorrow (Thursday)

  • Petesta on December 15, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    As a SAfrican, I find myself in a predicament over whether or not I should be happy with this news. Obviously, it improves our chances of winning, but sport is more than just winning: it's about who you beat and sportsmanship, and above all it's just a game. So I'm probably sad he's doubtful... probably.

  • VIKRAMLOVESDADA on December 15, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    a nice chance for unadkat to play . he should prove to team india that he is a good bowler too

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    oooooooo com on zaheer u hav to be fit..u are the backbone of bowling attack

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    Why ppl are wooried abt Zak's absence in world cup? I think he is good test bowler than shorter format for us.

    I feel Nehra, PK can do the job in WC. So we shud play Zak in this series.

  • cricsom5667 on December 15, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    It is a massive blow if ZAK is ruled out off the 1st Test especially if India get lucky with the toss and put SA into bat on a green top. The other options are to either play Nehra or give Unadkat his debut. If India call upon the services of Nehra, he should be instructed to bowl full and attack the off stump. Bowling on the legs, too much outside the off stump or unnecessarily short to Smith and company is asking for trouble and you could see a 250 plus score by tea if SA bat. Accurate bowling is the call of the day and no way should India allow SA to score more than 270 on day one without having atleast the top 5 to 6 guys back in pavilion. Whether batting or bowling, the first two days of the 1st Test, IMHO will set the tone for the entire series and it is hence important to come out unscathed on these two days if not seen having the upper hand. So if its batting, play yourself in before the pyrotechnics and if its bowling, if not amongst the wickets, choke out the runs.

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    Zaheer doubtful for first Test! Does that come to you as a surprise? I am not surprised. Anybody who watched the 4th game of the Kiwi ODI series must have seen Zaheer holding his hamstring during his last over in the game. He did not play in the final ODI. I guess that the Indian team management knew about his injury before he travelled to SA. To say that scans done 2 days ago revealed the injury is silly. If he was not fit then why did he go?

  • itismenithin on December 15, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Im not sure why they played him in the inconsequential one dayer's against NZ especially when you have an very important series coming up! India is already on the backfoot withought a fully fit Zaheer and a series win is out of the equation now.

  • JustOUT on December 15, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    I wish Steyn was playing for India, the amount of attention Zaheer is getting as a bowler..just thinking of how much Steyn would hv got for his calibre and achievement with in a short time.

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    if ZAK does'nt play, then, it's a big blow for india's chances in the first test , beacuse without him india will struggle badly to take twenty wickets. so let's keep our fingers crossed.

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    Really bad news for Indian fans

  • triassicpark1 on December 15, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    I hope we have Zaheer on the park. Come on Team India. I pray for an Indian and English victory. Even though I ll be in WACA, my thoughts will be with Team India. Jai ho..............

  • suddyv on December 15, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    Smith will be happy because his favorite will not be bowling to him. Major blow for india and he is the bowling spear head. Lets see who takes his roles. Umesh will be a good replacement. Earlier He has tested sachin reflexes in nets.

  • Chris.Maverick.McFly on December 15, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Zak, we hope you make it to the 11's

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Chris.Maverick.McFly on December 15, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Zak, we hope you make it to the 11's

  • suddyv on December 15, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    Smith will be happy because his favorite will not be bowling to him. Major blow for india and he is the bowling spear head. Lets see who takes his roles. Umesh will be a good replacement. Earlier He has tested sachin reflexes in nets.

  • triassicpark1 on December 15, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    I hope we have Zaheer on the park. Come on Team India. I pray for an Indian and English victory. Even though I ll be in WACA, my thoughts will be with Team India. Jai ho..............

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    Really bad news for Indian fans

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    if ZAK does'nt play, then, it's a big blow for india's chances in the first test , beacuse without him india will struggle badly to take twenty wickets. so let's keep our fingers crossed.

  • JustOUT on December 15, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    I wish Steyn was playing for India, the amount of attention Zaheer is getting as a bowler..just thinking of how much Steyn would hv got for his calibre and achievement with in a short time.

  • itismenithin on December 15, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Im not sure why they played him in the inconsequential one dayer's against NZ especially when you have an very important series coming up! India is already on the backfoot withought a fully fit Zaheer and a series win is out of the equation now.

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    Zaheer doubtful for first Test! Does that come to you as a surprise? I am not surprised. Anybody who watched the 4th game of the Kiwi ODI series must have seen Zaheer holding his hamstring during his last over in the game. He did not play in the final ODI. I guess that the Indian team management knew about his injury before he travelled to SA. To say that scans done 2 days ago revealed the injury is silly. If he was not fit then why did he go?

  • cricsom5667 on December 15, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    It is a massive blow if ZAK is ruled out off the 1st Test especially if India get lucky with the toss and put SA into bat on a green top. The other options are to either play Nehra or give Unadkat his debut. If India call upon the services of Nehra, he should be instructed to bowl full and attack the off stump. Bowling on the legs, too much outside the off stump or unnecessarily short to Smith and company is asking for trouble and you could see a 250 plus score by tea if SA bat. Accurate bowling is the call of the day and no way should India allow SA to score more than 270 on day one without having atleast the top 5 to 6 guys back in pavilion. Whether batting or bowling, the first two days of the 1st Test, IMHO will set the tone for the entire series and it is hence important to come out unscathed on these two days if not seen having the upper hand. So if its batting, play yourself in before the pyrotechnics and if its bowling, if not amongst the wickets, choke out the runs.

  • on December 15, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    Why ppl are wooried abt Zak's absence in world cup? I think he is good test bowler than shorter format for us.

    I feel Nehra, PK can do the job in WC. So we shud play Zak in this series.