South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion, 5th day December 20, 2010

Zaheer fit for Durban, but Raina's form a worry

103

On a day when South Africa expectedly finished an innings win, some consolation came India's way. After the post-match presentation, Zaheer Khan bowled a spell on the same pitch that the Test was played on, along with Ishant Sharma. MS Dhoni confirmed that Zaheer was fit, and would play the second Test. Dhoni also admitted that he was worried "to some extent" about how Suresh Raina went, but was hopeful he would bounce back.

"You need a bit of experience to play under these conditions," he said. "What really happens is you tour once in four-five years. The last time he came here was in 2006, and he was not part of the side. After that he played some ODIs and T20s, which is a completely different format. With the red ball, the approach changes, the mindset changes. You need a bit of time. It always helps. I think he will get back to form soon."

Raina lasted three balls in the first innings, hanging his bat outside off to a short-of-a-length delivery, and followed it with a steer straight into the slips in the second. However, Dhoni said that any decision on Raina's selection for Durban will be made later.

South Africa, on the other hand, have added JP Duminy and Wayne Parnell to the group of 12 named for this match. Effectively that means Johan Botha has been dropped from the original 15 that was picked for the series. The only possible change in the XI for Durban - injuries barring - could involve Lonwabo Tsotsobe, whom the Indian batsmen targeted, but Smith wasn't harsh on the seamer.

"He's inexperienced, he has to grow as a cricketer and we have to give him the tools," Smith said. "In the one-day format, he is developing already, it shows with his performances in Dubai and Abu Dhabi [against Pakistan]. He has only played three Test matches and he has a lot of developing to do. He is bowling behind an attack that has a lot of pace. I think the opposition may target him a little more and that'll provide him with the opportunity. He needs to be strong in his own head and he'll get rewards."

Smith said the comeback of Zaheer - who has dismissed him nine times in 20 innings across all formats - didn't worry him. "I don't personalise things too much. I prepare for Zaheer the same way I prepare for everyone else. He's a new-ball bowler, I'm an opening batter, so it's a natural challenge. He has obviously bowled well to left-handers, so it's an exciting prospect."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Krishdang on December 23, 2010, 2:10 GMT

    If Raina was to be given another opportunity, he better sit down and watch another left hander who recently played a gem of the innings - Michael Hussey. He, swear to god didn't touch the shadow of dust of anythihg outside of the offstump. Raina might learn something there. He can demolish the oppostion, just needs a start. He hasn't been able to start really, let alone a big score!!! what a waste of a talent and an opportunity.. I am sure seniors in the team will be at him giving him a piece of advice or two. they better...!!

  • on December 22, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    Pujara needs to get the opportunity, or else the next tour will be full of batsmen inexperienced in South Africa. He has shown the temperament to play the longer version. I would have loved to see Virat Kohli also getting a chance, he is someone sincere, learns quickly.

    On the bowling front someone needs to shake our bowlers up. They can do better than what we saw. There is no other choice.

  • on December 22, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    I think Vijay should be brought in. I don't care if he plays opener or even number 5 - he has the technical skill to adapt. Raina dosen't inspire confidence in me with his techniques. Bring Vijay in. Pujara looks comfortable too.

  • on December 22, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    replacing unadkat and raina or whomever it be, is not going to make any difference in the outcome.. the fact is, india is not competitive against SA [IN SA].. they know that, we know that, players know that and everyone know that fact. the better we play, the closer we can go.. but defeating SA is beyond wildest dreams, and we jus jave to sit down and watch and dreadful sights of all our favrit batters getting their stumps knocked out regularly in the next 2 matches to come..

  • Alexk400 on December 22, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    I really think PUJARA will also fail against Steyn & co. In India Raina , pujara all can play. Even Dravid failing against steyn , what chance pujara has?.

    May be he can make quick 30 as he is young.

    India will be bundles out again if sehwag gets out early. History repeats often.

  • AB235 on December 22, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Some reader rightly pointed out the case for Praveen and Munaf in tests. I tend to agree with them. We need to take wickets in test matches, thats all. if someone takes 3 to 5 wickets for 100 runs when those are of the first 5-6 batsmen, its fine. We need strike bowlers to take wickets and from that perspective, Nehra, Praveen and Munaf have the uncanny ability of taking wickets in test matches. We have forgotten the pace and bounce that Agarkar used to generate and the wickets he used to take in tests (the last best match winning bowling analysis outside India came from Agarkar in Adelaide), but due to his ODI expensiveness, we dropped him from test matches. Then when physically strong Mithun performed so well even on dead Srilankan wickets, we didnt pick him for the juicy SA wkts. Rather we took two rookies to appease Central and East zone selectors and Zaheer despite knowing his injury history. Nehra was the right choice, with Munaf,Mithun, Ishant and Sreesanth.

  • ABP235 on December 22, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    No use even if Zaheer is fit, it needs a full bowling unit to perform well to take 20 wickets in test matches. People tend to think the toss went against us in the first test. Thats may be true, but even if it was in our favour, there is no guarantee this Indian pace attack of 130kph speed would have bowled them out even under 300 by Day 2! A note about the ability of Ashish Nehra. His ability to move the ball, seem it and use bounce at a speed of around 140kph is very useful in test matches. It is not necessary that he has to bowl 10-15 overs at a stretch in test matches, he should be used as a strike bowler to give us wickets when needed, ignore if he is expensive. Our inability of taking wickets is what is costing us. Nehra has proved that he is a wicket taking bowler in any condition - pacy or dead. About Nehra's fitness - I feel his fitness is better than Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth put together! Munaf's accuracy (like McGrath) was also missed in 1st test, he too can take wkts.

  • on December 22, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    India team didn't play badly in the 1st test..it is true that SA bowlers bowled well but the conditions on the 1st day is also a factor for India's 1st innings demolition... India played well in the 2nd innings..good to see dhoni getting runs in test...the one thing apart from Zaheer coming in for Unadkat that needs to change is somehow bringing Pujara in to the team...probably dropping Raina for the cause...whatever be said of Raina as a classy player in ODI and T20 format, Pujara is definitely a better player than Raina in the Test level...he can score runs..serious runs and that will plug a hole in the lower middle order...not only for this series but also a vital batting spot in the middle order in future...

  • Hoovesofthunder on December 22, 2010, 0:21 GMT

    Pujara is in the form of his life as evident from his high scoring in domestic, A team & Test scores show all of 2010. He should get a nod ahead of Raina who just needs some time off from Cricket. Even 1 test match break did wonders for Mitchell Johnson.

  • InnocentGuy on December 21, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    Nehra isn't that fit a person. I think the selectors didn't want to risk getting him injured just before the WC. He's more suited for the limited overs format. And it makes sense too. He'll be a great asset come February.

  • Krishdang on December 23, 2010, 2:10 GMT

    If Raina was to be given another opportunity, he better sit down and watch another left hander who recently played a gem of the innings - Michael Hussey. He, swear to god didn't touch the shadow of dust of anythihg outside of the offstump. Raina might learn something there. He can demolish the oppostion, just needs a start. He hasn't been able to start really, let alone a big score!!! what a waste of a talent and an opportunity.. I am sure seniors in the team will be at him giving him a piece of advice or two. they better...!!

  • on December 22, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    Pujara needs to get the opportunity, or else the next tour will be full of batsmen inexperienced in South Africa. He has shown the temperament to play the longer version. I would have loved to see Virat Kohli also getting a chance, he is someone sincere, learns quickly.

    On the bowling front someone needs to shake our bowlers up. They can do better than what we saw. There is no other choice.

  • on December 22, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    I think Vijay should be brought in. I don't care if he plays opener or even number 5 - he has the technical skill to adapt. Raina dosen't inspire confidence in me with his techniques. Bring Vijay in. Pujara looks comfortable too.

  • on December 22, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    replacing unadkat and raina or whomever it be, is not going to make any difference in the outcome.. the fact is, india is not competitive against SA [IN SA].. they know that, we know that, players know that and everyone know that fact. the better we play, the closer we can go.. but defeating SA is beyond wildest dreams, and we jus jave to sit down and watch and dreadful sights of all our favrit batters getting their stumps knocked out regularly in the next 2 matches to come..

  • Alexk400 on December 22, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    I really think PUJARA will also fail against Steyn & co. In India Raina , pujara all can play. Even Dravid failing against steyn , what chance pujara has?.

    May be he can make quick 30 as he is young.

    India will be bundles out again if sehwag gets out early. History repeats often.

  • AB235 on December 22, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Some reader rightly pointed out the case for Praveen and Munaf in tests. I tend to agree with them. We need to take wickets in test matches, thats all. if someone takes 3 to 5 wickets for 100 runs when those are of the first 5-6 batsmen, its fine. We need strike bowlers to take wickets and from that perspective, Nehra, Praveen and Munaf have the uncanny ability of taking wickets in test matches. We have forgotten the pace and bounce that Agarkar used to generate and the wickets he used to take in tests (the last best match winning bowling analysis outside India came from Agarkar in Adelaide), but due to his ODI expensiveness, we dropped him from test matches. Then when physically strong Mithun performed so well even on dead Srilankan wickets, we didnt pick him for the juicy SA wkts. Rather we took two rookies to appease Central and East zone selectors and Zaheer despite knowing his injury history. Nehra was the right choice, with Munaf,Mithun, Ishant and Sreesanth.

  • ABP235 on December 22, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    No use even if Zaheer is fit, it needs a full bowling unit to perform well to take 20 wickets in test matches. People tend to think the toss went against us in the first test. Thats may be true, but even if it was in our favour, there is no guarantee this Indian pace attack of 130kph speed would have bowled them out even under 300 by Day 2! A note about the ability of Ashish Nehra. His ability to move the ball, seem it and use bounce at a speed of around 140kph is very useful in test matches. It is not necessary that he has to bowl 10-15 overs at a stretch in test matches, he should be used as a strike bowler to give us wickets when needed, ignore if he is expensive. Our inability of taking wickets is what is costing us. Nehra has proved that he is a wicket taking bowler in any condition - pacy or dead. About Nehra's fitness - I feel his fitness is better than Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth put together! Munaf's accuracy (like McGrath) was also missed in 1st test, he too can take wkts.

  • on December 22, 2010, 1:18 GMT

    India team didn't play badly in the 1st test..it is true that SA bowlers bowled well but the conditions on the 1st day is also a factor for India's 1st innings demolition... India played well in the 2nd innings..good to see dhoni getting runs in test...the one thing apart from Zaheer coming in for Unadkat that needs to change is somehow bringing Pujara in to the team...probably dropping Raina for the cause...whatever be said of Raina as a classy player in ODI and T20 format, Pujara is definitely a better player than Raina in the Test level...he can score runs..serious runs and that will plug a hole in the lower middle order...not only for this series but also a vital batting spot in the middle order in future...

  • Hoovesofthunder on December 22, 2010, 0:21 GMT

    Pujara is in the form of his life as evident from his high scoring in domestic, A team & Test scores show all of 2010. He should get a nod ahead of Raina who just needs some time off from Cricket. Even 1 test match break did wonders for Mitchell Johnson.

  • InnocentGuy on December 21, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    Nehra isn't that fit a person. I think the selectors didn't want to risk getting him injured just before the WC. He's more suited for the limited overs format. And it makes sense too. He'll be a great asset come February.

  • on December 21, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    Pujara should some in team instead of raina and why selector didnt pick Nehra , In these type pitches suites him a lot and for these type pitches he is better than zaheer also.

  • on December 21, 2010, 20:19 GMT

    guys stop talking about parveen kumar and munaf patel in tests...125km what get u wicketsin test matches especiaaly with the old ball.they should give a chance to umesh yadav

  • on December 21, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    Guys i feel that Suresh Raina needs to removed from the team and instead Pujara should be brought in because he is not in the best frame of mind right now. Besides he has played way too much cricket in the past yr. It will be a benefit for team INDIA only as they would be able to see a much better Suresh Raina at the Cricket World Cup 2011. Also i believe tht it is time we gave an oppurtunity to bowlers like Praveen Kumar who can swing the ball both ways and who can maintain the pressure from one end while zaheer takes wickets at the other end.

  • Dr.AlexKuruvila on December 21, 2010, 18:29 GMT

    Don't want to make excuses, but honestly, the first test was lost with the toss! With Dhoni's bad luck with the toss, wonder why they would not consider sending Gambhir as VC for the toss. There is also precedence for such a move! Toss will be vital in Durban as well as in the third test! You can kiss this series goodbye (and possibly 3-0) if MS continues his losing streak with the toss!

  • on December 21, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    Every one wants to see Raina dropped because of the way that he got out and because of his tech he was giving catching pract to the slips how can you do that??

    Kingsmead has more pace and bounce then Centurion and i read that ojha should player when there is talk that SA might go into the test with 5 fast bowler and no spinner. Some guys don't know what they are talking about Kingsmead was rated the second fastest wicket after WACA BUT it has slowed down a BIT but is the still the fastest wicket in SA.

    I don't see things getting better for Indian.

    I JUST WANT TO SEE A GOOD CONSENT AND DON'T THINK THAT I WILL THIS SERIES.

  • S.N.Singh on December 21, 2010, 17:44 GMT

    INDIA NEED ANOTHER SPINNER (IN OJHA). HISTORY HAS PROVEN THAT INDIA ALWAYS DEPEND ON SPINNERS AND OUR FASTMEN INCLUDES ZAHEER IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH AND WHY IS DHONI NOT BOWLING SEHWAG ? SEHWAG IS AS GOOD AS ANY OFF-SPINNER IN THE WORLD, GIVEN ENOUGH BOWLING. SIX BATSMEN + HARBHAJAN AND THE REST SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE A GOOD SCORE OF 350 RUNS. FIVE RECOGNIZED BOWLERS + SEHWAG SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH. I THIINK PUGHARA SHOULD COME IN FOR RAINA. S.N.SINGH U S A

  • asadkum on December 21, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA............................................ Zak is fit for 2nd test - it's good news !!! I.Sharma is ok ---- what about Umesh Yadav !!! he may be considered ................. I would be glad to see Pujara in place of Raina ................ I guess it would be a good combination to come back !!!!!!!! All the best !!!!!

  • Nampally on December 21, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    @Mohanraj: I am a strong fan of Raina and want him to succeed. However Dhoni himself said that Raina is mentally tired and needs a break and he promised to give him that break in the first test. What happened to Dhoni's promise? Not only that Raina played in 2 ODI against NZ and failed miserably.This guy needs a 3 month break from cricket to get his mental confidence and phyche. When will the Selectors & Dhoni realize this and act in team's interest? Clearly he is incapable of playing bouncers and please don't shatter his confidence further by playing him. Both Vijay & Pujara are good bats with good record. Kohli is even better. So India has a choice. India win because of its batting. But when 2 out of 7 batsmen fail in both the innings it is tough to put up a good score.ZAK is only one bowler. Rest of the bowling is rubbish. Bhaiji needs a break like Raina. Bring in Ashwin instead. Why not have a keen XI dying to score & take wickets on the field rather than guys with "past record"?

  • spinkingKK on December 21, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    I think India need to bring in Pujara. Either Raina or Dravid should give way to Pujara. It won't be the end of the world for Raina. He is young and he can still come back into the side. India can bounce back in the series. The first test pitch was too flat and India was unlucky to have lost the toss. Cricket is all about pressure and if Indian bowlers were bowling at the SA batsmen with runs on the board, it would have been a different story. Sreesanth is too good a bowler to get treated like he did. I think SA was scared of Indian bowlers and that is the reason why they prepared a batting pitch. They know the batsmen can make mistakes like they always did and that could win them the match.

  • on December 21, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    Apart from the Zak in place of Unadkat, For the second test Pujara, Munaf and Ojha sud cm in place of Raina, Shreesath and Bhajji. Reason for these replacements: Raina is worst for bouncers in SA conditions (he can be good only as 12th player), Shreesanth is rhythmic bowlwer and he gets his rhythm only once in 10 tests (and its notthe 10th testafter his ahmedabad performance, Munaf is more disciplined in line and length and can content runs if not take wickets), Ojha is always better than Bhajji (also the plus of Bhajji in his blind batting wont work in SA conditions). I know Dhoni is not brave enough for making these three changes... but this is the realistic accessment of present team if they want to firmly horn up with proteas.

  • on December 21, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    Raina is a talented young one, who keeps his mind cool in pressure. when the seniors struggle against steyn pace, he is no exception. Look at India's 1st innings, everybody failed. second innings , only dravid, sachin are fluent. Dhoni is confident. let us give the kid a chance before talking nonsense about him. those who wish that he shoul fail, think about the victories he bought for India.

  • on December 21, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Mithun is overrated he is another useless bowler ,at present we don't have fast bowlers at all so we can go for all-rounders like irfan pathan ,praveen kuMar,they will atleast score runs

  • Runster1 on December 21, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    cmon india, atleast draw the test series and win the ODI series and how SA and aussies who will win the WC

  • Jkgsrt on December 21, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    people say match winning inn. if indian bowler is not able to take wkts then can srt do. 1n 77 year of history india did not produce a single bowler with average less than 28. you think this is due to indian wkts but u are wrong. in india there performance is very good but at foreign soil it is worst. you see avg of all indian bowlers in foreign. then you realize that avg is above 35. every team had a good bowler with avg around 25 or under it . but india did not produce a bowler. you say hobbs, sobers.......etc are match winners but they all have good bowlers. because of this srt has 11 hundreds in defeat. case is same with lara but ther was a problem with the batsman and not with bowlers.... ie... walsh and ambrose

  • sonjjay on December 21, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Raina should be sent back to India.When there was a need to build a partnership he put up a spineless display.Quite frankly i dont think he should have been in the team in the first place as i had already said when the squad was announced.We will lay down some more flat tracks for him so he can score and earn in IPL he is not test standards.Zaheer alone wont be able to do any miracles and other bowlers need to step up if they want to pick up 20 wickets.I think they erred in their lines and hopefully Eric Simmons too has observed that.

  • Vnott on December 21, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    Looking at past results and past performances, it is clear Toss played the biggest role in the first test. However India should have batted better in the second innings and saved the test. we had 3 fifites, 1 forty odd and a unbeaten hundred. If two had made big hundreds the game would have been saved just like against NZ in the first test.

    Bring in Pujara for Raina, Zaks for Jayadev, Give some counselling to Sreesanth who seems to be lacking in confidence a bit. He should have done better.....and lets all pray for Dhoni to win the toss...

  • sunny_gaur on December 21, 2010, 3:44 GMT

    after the dismal perfomance it is fairly possible that s.africa might be a bit complacent and if all goes well zak will make them fall face first.(just a figure of speech......or. . . may be not)

  • BMayuresh on December 21, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    Zak being back is a wonderful news but if his fitness remains a question then God help India in WC. Lets hope he changes things for India in the rest 2 test matches as this time round a lot is expected from him.

  • on December 21, 2010, 1:53 GMT

    I think Umesh Yadav may be good on these pitches. He has the ability to vary pace and can bowl at 140+. Let Zaks, Ishant and Umesh Yadav lead India's pace. And give Sreesanth a break

  • arvindthiru on December 21, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    Great news for Indian fans after having seen the team put a big fight in the second innings. With Zak in he can help sree and Ishant to get them wickets and change bowling strategies. Really hoping for a 1-1 after Durban. But then a worrying factor looms at the end of 1st test. Is raina really the no 6 batsman India wants? Pujara and Vijay seem much brighter prospects. Raina's strokes can only make him a specialist ODI batsman like yuvi. Selectors took their time to realize about yuvi..he played 35 tests in the mean time..raina averages 34 after 8 tests..if they let him play 5 more tests..it will drop to 25..so better play vijay or pujara..or may be badri..i wish raina fails in this series..so that India can have better players in future series and win those even without sachin,dravid and lax..

  • Warrior78 on December 21, 2010, 1:28 GMT

    I'm sure Smith is trying to rub salt into the injury. Its really unfortunate the way Indian cricket is run. BCCI looks to be in the business of just making money & not bother of Team India's pride at all. The prep time given to players was next to nothing. A week of preparation before any high profile series in completely different conditions compared to what they have played recently is ridiculous. Agreed that the practice games would have been on different types of wickets but still I would have helped the bowlers find the right length to bowl in SA and also given some confidence to batsmen with runs behind them. This seems to be a problem in every away series we play nowadays but doesn't look like anyone is interested in fixing this issue. Look at Ashes series, 3 warm games before the 1st test and 1 after 2nd tests as well. I hope the Indian team will comeback strong to prove they deserve to be Numero Uno in tests. Unfortunately they don't seem to have the tools to do that though.

  • on December 21, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    To praks3705, ...precisely. I wish they seriously consider Pujara to replace Raina. Raina, no doubt,brings lot of energy and enthusiasm on the field. But, with the series at stake, the change is required. We know Dhoni has a soft corner for Raina. Raina will definitely shine in the World Cup and the way he has been playing in test matches lately, he will become a Yuvraj.

  • Ian_SA on December 21, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    Wow, what did Smith ever do to any of you? Bunch of sore losers.

    Let me put this in perspective for you: Jaques Kallis has more test wickets than Zaheer Khan, and at a better average too. He's our #4 or 5 bowler at the moment.

    Zaheer can be very good in spells, but he's 32 - not much time left for a fast bowler.

  • cricket_for_all on December 20, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    Good part better bowlers like Zahir makes other bowlers to perform well. I am sure Sreesanth and Ishant will bowl well when they bowl with Zahir. But still Indian bowling or selection is terrible to be honest.

  • dilipm on December 20, 2010, 23:19 GMT

    Dhoni was diplomatic about Raina. Raina is effective in ODIs because of limitations placed on bowling and fielding.His weakness against short pitched fast bowling was hidden in the sub continental pitches where the ball did not jump up.He tends to take his eyes off the bouncing ball and jumps to ride it down. He doesn't hook or pull. He is a good driver but no international bowler is going to help him by pitching up.His technique against pace needs tightening if he wants to play Test cricket for India. Murli Vijay and Pujara are better equipped against pace. In the next Test in Durban India should employ only two pace bowlers and bring in Ojha. Ojha can tighten the scoring and while he does not yet have the variety to run through a side, he does come up with important wickets due to batsmen trying to break out of the stranglehold he imposes through his controlled bowling. Harbhajan has been a disappointment.Aswin has more penetration. Harbhajan's batting is saving him.

  • Fayss on December 20, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    a left hand bowler on a green top can be handy... but I don't think zaheer has enough pace to use the conditions. His line is good but he pitches the ball up which may be good in indian pitches but that won't be helpful in SA. Speed is not the key, but length is...!!! You gotta get ur length right in South Africa...!!! Indians always think that they don't have high paced bowlers but what I see that they don't have smart fast bowlers to use the conditions.

  • DEEWB5TW on December 20, 2010, 21:46 GMT

    If India wants a team for future then they should try with Vijay or Pujara instead of Raina for the Durban test.You don't really need to be the best puller or hooker.If you know how to duck under the shorter ones thats more than enough for a start.Over a period of time one can improve on the pull/hook.Vijay slightly edges past Pujara mainly due to his current form.

  • on December 20, 2010, 21:40 GMT

    These days it is quite useless to have a specialist medium pacer in a test team. Unadkat must choose to be faster or turn into an allrounder. He needs to put in a lot of hard work and bowl consistently over 135 to become a test cricketer. Keep Raina in the team, he will answer in the next test. Keep bowlers who can move the ball in the air and move it big off the pitch as far a spinners are concerned. Googlies and doosras will be smashed by the South Africans.

  • Rezaul on December 20, 2010, 20:24 GMT

    The form India has shown in 1st Test rises eyebrows and creates more questions about their number 1 ranking. I want with the availability of Zaheer Khan, India will be able to turn the competition opposite way from next Test. But in reality its hard to believe how they going to improve their record in SA after they failed to avoid innings defeat. Its not only Smith but Kallis, Amla, Devilliers all are expert on their own track. And if they add Parnel with Stayen and Morkel it will be even harder for Indian batters. However, I want Pujara in place of Raina who looked out of sort in both innings.

  • on December 20, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Its quite strange Dhoni says he's worried about Raina's form??..but i ask y??..there's Pujara sitting on the bench n looks far more better option than Raina in test format..!! If Pujara is not given a chance replacing Raina now,then when he vl get his turn to prove on??..Its right time now give Raina a break..!!

  • protea_fan on December 20, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    Zaheer Khan has had Smith's number on plenty of occasions, and it will be a good tussle between them. If Khan prevails it will bring Amla to the crease earlier, which if I were an Indian supporter, I'd not be to keen on as he is making a mockery of your bowling 'attack'. It is interesting to note that India are bolstering said 'attack' with a bowler who has a worse career bowling average than Jacques Kallis. Well, they need all the help they can get, seeing as each Protea wicket they managed to take in Pretoria came at an average of 155 runs...

  • Qureshigm on December 20, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    No disrespect to anyone, yes ZAK is the best bowler in Indian Team right now. And He has got Smithy 9 times but it does not make any sense of getting him within 10 overs is a must. If it happens, for example, there are players like Hashim Amla, who has done wonderfully well against India, Jacques Kallis, as we know, AB de Villiers and Prince is no less than a good players. Well SA is the no. 2 team at the moment. So don't underestimate them...!!! Please

  • GlobalCricketLover on December 20, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    zak might get smith, but Steyn and Morkel will demolish all of the top 7 India batsman. Durban will have lot more bounce and swing. If one zaheer is good, steyn + morkel is twice the menace...

  • on December 20, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    To all the Indian supports. Do u think that Zak is doing to make that much of a different?? Smith has not done that well this year. The bulk of the runs have come from the middle order. Dhoni is right at having a go at his bowlers because they did not do the 2 most important things take wickets or slow the scoring rate. There was so much comments before the match that Ishant and Sreesanth are better bowlers then Steyn and Morkel. What happened???

    I have read comments that the toss had a lot to do with SA winning, it is the same in India how many captains win the toss there and want to bat first WHY?? because they don't want to bat last. The wicket was good for the bowlers on the first day and then perfect for the batsmen Gambhir and Dhoni have said so. The SA bowlers bowled Indian out on that wicket Why could Indian not do the same.

  • on December 20, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    Finally some good news for India! Come on Zak. Let em' have it!

  • David47 on December 20, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Won't make a significant difference. Might mean that India only get beaten by 200+ instead of an innings. Big gap between these sides - SA batting at least as good as India's, but no comparison with the bowling.

  • on December 20, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Raina feeling so lucky, because he is playing in same IPL team as Dhoni's is playing. Otherwise I don't find any other reason, why he gets place in playing 11, ahead of Pujara.

  • Raj12345 on December 20, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Please play with Raina for next 2 tests, that is only option to bring Pujara into middle order without any disturbance. Even ordinary cricket fans knows Raina can't play outside sub-continent or bowler friendly pitch, am wondering how come selectors going with CSK influence here.

  • on December 20, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    I am so surprised and frustated to see Raina still in playing 11. In his first 4 Test innings he made 309 runs being not out one time, average of 103. But in the next 8 innings that he batted he made only 64 runs, made more than 20 runs only one time, with a very POOR average of 8.

    He performed so poorly against NZ and AUS at home, how can he do better against much stronger attack at thier home? Whats wrong to give a chance to Poojara in middle order?

  • aravabalaji on December 20, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    When someone like Badrinath made a gutsy 50 on debut against the potent SA attack in hostile conditions, his place was inexplicably snatched away in favour of Dhoni's current favourite Raina, who scored a chancy century on a dead pitch where the total match score went near 1500 runs. This was followed by strings of poor batting performances, still he is being backed by Dhoni. Double standards & sheer favouritsm . Raina is a fantastic ODI/T20 player and u cant expect him to fit the test arena which needs different skill sets. Similarly, selecting rookies as backup pacers for such an important tour smacks of politics keeping aside experience & merit. Likes of Mithun, Munaf should have been there.

  • cooljack_143 on December 20, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    Pujara has definitely got better technique and mental discipline than Raina in test cricket .By the way he played against Ausies showed that.definitely he is a great contender for Raina in the tests,where as Raina is THEBEST in ODI and 20/20.Zak is better bowler,and more than that he is a better leader for the bowling unit,captain on his own for the bowling unit.When Zak's around Dhoni never needs to bother about advising the bowlers,Zak takes up the responsibility.Its like you have 2 captains in a side when Zak plays.He is a major impact on the game.I sincerely pray that he will be fit to play the rest of this series and the world cup.Go India Go !!!!! Smith better be aware HE'S COMING!!!!!!!!!

  • on December 20, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    As a South African cricket fan, I'm glad Zaheer is back -- he's the key to India being competitive in South Africa. As for SA's third seamer, while Tsotsobe was very inconsistent at Centurion, I agree with Smith that you sometimes need to take those knocks and have your team's trust behind you that you'll come back with a vengeance. That said, truth is that Wayne Parnell is the future, particularly since he's also a left-arm seamer, so Tsotsobe will feel the pressure. I'm still not worried about our third seamer -- it might just take a little juggling, but while Steyn and Morkel are bowling as well as they are in helpful conditions, the inconsistency following them is no cause for panic.

  • gaurav1992 on December 20, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    i think the indian team will be alltogetehr different with ZAK in teh team, and instaed of India raining their wickets , it will be South Africa's turn..with Smith to start off..

  • kalyanbk on December 20, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    I think India should bring in Vijay or Pujara for Raina. If it is Vijay, there is also a possibility of him opening while allowing Sehwag to come later against the other bowlers when the ball is older. Dravid and Laxman are also concerns. Dravid is not lasting as long or scoring as many runs as we know he is capable of. Laxman looks at ease against spinners but got out for two low scores against pace. Top class batsmen should not get bowled too often. On the bowling, I realistically don't see Unadkat or Umesh Yadav making a difference on this tour. Munaf Patel or Mithun or even Ashish Nehra seem to be better options.

  • pipsonian on December 20, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    Yeah, Zaheer is the only teeth of Indian attack

  • worstcasegemini on December 20, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    Ok i think Vijay ll be the better player to replace Raina whos been seen wanting for test match technique esp in non indian conditions. Trying pujara might be tricky as the guy hasnt been tested outside india... Vijay has travelled a bit and i feel his height n technique could prove critical to play Steyn, Morkel and Parnell.. Mind you, its gonna be tougher to face them with Parnell slotted to replace Tsotsobe. To draw this series itself would be the biggest challenge for the indians.

  • on December 20, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Dropping Mithun ( who is very good with Red Ball) for south african pitches is really disappointing.. Raina should drop himself from the playing squad and give place for Pujara...

  • Raj12345 on December 20, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Request to Dhoni. Don't remove your friend Raina from playing XI for next 2 matches. I feel that is only way to bring Puraja permanently to test middle order. Raina is not test player, he is there in circket today because of very first IPL and before that his place question mark in ODI team. Raina produce runs only when opp attack is not so great & there is no quality bowling, then he will dance for sixes. If SA put loose bowlers, then there is chance for Raina to hang around and comes up with 50s or something. Anyway it is not so long for Puraja get into test and then he will answer, then be prepare to take him in ODI side. He will remove any one Raina/Tiwary/Yuvi in ODIs soon.

  • on December 20, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Hey please give suresh raina 5 more tests to get into form. He is the marcus north of india. For the past 5 tests ishanth sharma has a good batting average than him. Y did they drop vijay even after scoring a hundred. Raina is lucky. He had many chances to prove. Plz throw him away. For a player like vijay scoring 100 and getting dropped is the biggest disappoinment. Go by form wise and name wise. Vijay played wonderfully in champions league t20 which was in south africa. Dravid should bat at no.5 and vijay at no 3. 1.sehwag. 2.gambir. 3.vijay. 4.sachin 5.dravid 6.laxman. 7.dhoni. 8.bhajji 9.zak khan 10.ishanth 11. srisanth. Dravid at middle order would give india a much needed stability. Vijay at no3. provides temparament for him and confidence. Vijay should be groomed. Raina had got enough chances. If he is in next test it is purely bcoz of msd and he belongs 2 north india and vijay since he blongs 2 south he will b thrown away even if he fails in a single innings.

  • on December 20, 2010, 16:22 GMT

    Ashish Nehra? Maybe? Anyone thinks?

  • on December 20, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    I think you people need to be cool and wait for the boxing day at Durban. There is very small difference between Zaheer and Sreesanth as for as their stats are concerned. Sreesanth has more pace than Zaheer. Although Zaheer is an intelligent bowler but Smith & Co are playing on their home ground.

  • Nampally on December 20, 2010, 16:05 GMT

    For the next test India need a confident and reliable batting side to start with. India is #1 team because of its batting. Unfortunately when the batting fails the team loses because it does not have any test class bowlers apart from ZAK. So it is critical each of the 7 batsmen contribute. In the first test India had VVS and Raina as passengers who contributed <20 total runs in 2 innings. Raina is lacking in confidence and is totally out of form. Dhoni has to place the team above personal favourites.Give Raina a break and bring in more keen guys from the squad like Vijay or Pujara. Personally I would send Raina back to India & bring in a confident Kohli.Secondly If Harbhajan is playing as a bowler he needs to perform. Again I would be inclined to play ojha or better still get Ashwin from India now. Thirdly, either Ishant or Sree needs to be replaced by a steady bowler like Patel.These 3 changes are part of corrective actions based on lessons learnt from brutal first test defeat.

  • KricketPhan on December 20, 2010, 15:52 GMT

    I am not sure why Indian cricket fans are so excited about Zak. I mean he is no Wasim Akram or Steyn or McGrath so lets be realistic guys. Also, I am not sure if India can be called number one test team with such a poor bowling attack.

  • HarishVS on December 20, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    I think Zaheer's presence at Durban might just bring the much needed respectability to the India Side. But it is quite disappointing that he very regularly keeps missing crucial test matches due to injuries. He is called the leader of Indian bowling attack but he would not turn up at the ground every alternative match or series. Anyway he is still our No.1 bowler and a real threat to the opposing side whatever be the venue of the game. Coming to Raina, he is a very positive player and an excellent outfielder. But he needs to play more in such pitches. He is still young and has got wealth of cricket still to be played. He cannot play any differently in Durban than Centurion and he can only be further demoralised if gets out to low scores over and over again. He can wait and Pujara be given a chance in the middle order or Vijay can be tried out too. Persisting with Raina when he is struggling with his form is proving too costly for India. He is always welcome for One Day series.

  • Balumekka on December 20, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    @ Morpheus273: India desperately needs to find a fast bowler who could regulerly deliver 140k+, before attempting to break Smith's finger..lol

  • on December 20, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    zaheer is a gud bowler,probably the best left armer at present with mohammad aamir,but he will be coming back after an injury, so u can't say, that he will straightaway blast the southafricans. He will need time to adjust to the conditions,but I sincerely hopes, that he provides much needed potency to indian attack, and performs well. I want him to repeat the 2007 form in England.

  • Smahuta on December 20, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    @Morpheus273 Well im afraid you will have to wait until the next tour because, lucky for india, they dont play at the wanderers.

    Raina must be thinking "I play that shot every two balls in IPL, why cant I do it here?"

  • Kirstenfan on December 20, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    Zaheer is an exceptional bowler, just look at how great his record is in SA

    in South Africa 2001-2007 4 8 145.3 32 502 13 4/62 5/111 38.61 3.45 67.1 0 0 view innings

    Please let him be fit, so that SA can only average 39 runs a wicket against him and thus make the test match competitive, from a real Indian fan

  • Kirstenfan on December 20, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    On behalf of all SA fans, I think we can say that we do think Zaheer will make the difference - the difference between SA batting once or twice!

    Let's look at the facts - here's Zaheer's record in SA - you can see why Smith is so 'scared' - 4 matches, 13 wickets at an average of 39 - I mean it's much better than the rest of the Indian seamers, but it's not what we like to call 'world class', is it?

    in South Africa 2001-2007 4 8 145.3 32 502 13 4/62 5/111 38.61 3.45 67.1 0 0 view innings

  • Caveman. on December 20, 2010, 15:10 GMT

    Raina still gets to play :(

    Cant understand what was Pujara's fault. Raina is good on Indian pitches; he should have been left out, get a break and prepare for the world cup. Since ODIs in India doesnt have much bouncer barrage he could have been a critical member of the WC squad. Instead he will return from SA demoralized with his confidence shattered.

    Jimmy Amarnath was right. Selectors are indeed a bunch of jokers.

  • Leggie1977 on December 20, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    I think we should rest Raina for the second test & play Vijay at #3. Dravid can take Raina's place. In a matter of time Rahul will retire. So we should groom Vijay @ #3 ( As Vijay has shown some adaptability to different formats of the game). Give some rest to Raina & try him out in the third test if necessary.

  • malluwala on December 20, 2010, 15:02 GMT

    Durban is good bowling pitch, its not like the dead pitch in the centurion

  • on December 20, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    Where is RP Singh.I think he is good blower than Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth..He have the swing and also speed.From my point of view he is good blower than Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth

  • AshID on December 20, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    Instead of choosing Cheteshwar Pujara my suggestion would be to select Murali Vijay (who has played in Durban during the Champions League) and push to Sehwag to No.6 by dropping Raina. That way even if Vijay fails at the top of the order you still have Sehwag at No.6 to thrash a tired South African bowling. In any case Sehwag himself wants to go back to a middle order position before he retires.

  • on December 20, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    As far as im concerned, raina is looking to play test style cricket which doesn't suit his character,he has to get on with his natural cricket style which he is best at and he has the talent to tackle the SA bowling attack as he did in the wt20 in southafrica and he has performed reasonably well against the SA bowling as though he not faced them in tests, so its a matter of concern to keep him or not but still letting him free to play his natural cricket and a matter of time will mostly solve this issue....

  • sabee66 on December 20, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    first time i really felt sorry for INDIA..lol they should borrow few quick bowlers from their neighbours those who have a huge stock of them...lol

  • ElPhenomeno on December 20, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    While I admit Zaheer is india's best bowler, he is no wasim akram and indian fans should calm down. Bowling is always india's problem. They never had a pair of consistent bowlers that you need to stay at top for a long time.

  • Selaelo on December 20, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    yah..yah...yah Zaheer Khan will struggle against the proteas batsmen....... india will be white washed...

  • on December 20, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    dhoni. pick vijay andr pujar instead of raina and dravid.

  • on December 20, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Dhoni wants to shield his friend,Mr.Raina,It would be a himalayan blunder if he didn't drop Raina and picked Pujara or Vijay.It is distressing to note that attention is more paid to personal interests rather than Teamsake, the way Sachin did exposing tailenders to fiery fast bowlers and invited an innings defeat. Indians are no more deserved to be No.1 Test Team.

  • Raki99 on December 20, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    The bowling is inept, Raina is junk should only play onedays and 20/20. You need to be consistant in Test. and I don't think raina has what it takes to become a Test caliber batman, The way he gets out just baffles me. He gave cathing pratice to slips in both the innings. I don't know but i would try Pujara for the second test.

  • on December 20, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    where is sir Ravindra jadeja.?. Raina must be replaced by by one n only sir ravindra jadeja,,,, and if possible we should bring back venkatest prasad :-)

  • insightfulcricketer on December 20, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    What Zak brings to the table is more invaluable than his bowling skills. He is the guy oin the team who chooses the ball from the umpires. He is the one who maintains the balls so that it reverses after 40 overs. This skill has to be learnt by whoever is expected to carry the mantle. Without the ball reversing Ishant and Sree were toothless. And god what it will take Dhoni to get rid of Raina and Bhajji? Both are pretty useless against quality attacks outside India.

  • on December 20, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    one bowler can't win you a match and also you can't compare him with likes of Steyn, Morkel , for me Kallis is better than Zaheer , anyway hope Indian will put up some sort of fight and avoid at least Innings defeat next time around ..

  • ShashidharHundi on December 20, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Ravi & Naveen I like your quotes & I can't wait any more to see thats happening. But the true fact is Ishant & Sree are nowhere close to support or match Zaheer's effort from the other end. We will be truly champion side once we have a able support to Zaheer from the other end. I still feel Mithun is the best option on SA wickets to support Zaheer.

  • on December 20, 2010, 13:16 GMT

    Really dissapointed with Sreesanth and Ishant, I have seen these guys bowling above 140 mark.... And all this time I was thinking Unadkat was really quick that's why selectors r showing that much confidence in him.... He didn't deserve a place in XI, Even Praveen Kumar would have bowled better on this pitch; For the next game I want to see 5 bowlers with Umesh yadav as the part of the team as he can bat too and can bowl over 140 mark and for heaven's sake drop raina he s just like michael bevan not made for test matches........

  • GalVeddah on December 20, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    I think many comments here about Zak destroying Smith is bit premature. All know that cricket is an unpredictable game. Specially so when two strong teams play each other. Therefore, better not to predict the unpredictable for you may have to eat your own words.

  • dubai_cricfan on December 20, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    when zak be back it will give some relief...but he cant take all the 20 wickets of the oppenent..he needs to get good support..so the current form of ishanth and sree cannot make any differnce....so india will loose all the three or else try to make draw for the next couple..that wolud be idle.....and the biggest mistake which india made ( not india only sreekanth) is that he took 2 bowlers who havent got any international exposure...there are options like munaf,nehra and even vinay kumar...so if india loose he is the repsonsible person to give the answer???rite..

  • The_Professor on December 20, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    Just because Zak comes back does NOT mean all of India's bowling woes have been remedied. Prior to the beginning of this tour I had pointed out (via post) that pace bowling reserves will be a HUGE PROBLEM for India - both Sree & Ishant were trying to find best form and if one or both failed then there were no tried and tested reserves. Worse happened, Zak got injured AND both Sree & Ishant failed! It is good to take Unadkat and Yadav for them to gain experience but they are by no means compelling cases for the playing XI. You would have thought bowlers like Praveen, RP or even Munaf (although I question his attitude and commitment to the team) may have been better choices.

  • jack_maxwell on December 20, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    wow, a lot of indian fans make pretty hefty predictions. for the sake of you guys not looking silly, i hope you're right.

    i reckon we should look out for smith coming hard at zak. all this talk of what a massive difference zak'll make could be quickly dismissed if smith in particular makes a point of going after him.

    even if zak has some impact, the other bowlers are going to have to perform if india want to get back into this series and make it clear that their number one ranking isn't overblown nonsense.

  • JustOUT on December 20, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Mr. Dhobi, atlast you realized Raina is going to face RED ball and not white ball. Before this test, you said Raina and other blah blah are well accustomed to these conditions as they played in your BCCI worthless champions league and IPL. Your very good in cock n bull stories. And my dear Indian Fans, lets talk abt this test match, Let Zaheer deal with Smith, other 9 SA batsman will deal with Zaheer. :)

  • on December 20, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    This match showed that indians were not ready to dig deep in first innings and also second innings. As far as selection goes by the selectors for the SA series Nehra should have been picked and also may be munaf or RP or Mithun. Now for Durban I think Pujara shold come in at 3 and dravid should go down to 5 (raina out) OR Mv open and sehwag go down to 5. Also Ojha in for Harbhajan. Bhajji just cant keep the batsman guessing. my xi for durban & capetown My Xi: GG, MV, RD, ST, VS, VVS, MD, Ojha, Sree, Ishu, Zak OR GG, VS, Puj, ST, RD, VVS, MD, Ojha, Sree, Ishu, ZAK

  • JustOUT on December 20, 2010, 12:37 GMT

    Zaheer Fit, so what?? I dont understand how everyone is saying Zaheer will inspire other two hopeless bowlers? is he going to run behind both of them motivating each ball? Lets assume Zaheer take 5 for in each innings, India does not have any bowler to take next 5 wkts. If Totsebe is a black mark for SA attack, i dont know what to say abt Indian bowling attack. Funny LOL. With this bowling, they cannot take 20 wkts in SA.

  • katwash on December 20, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    So Zaheer will be fit for Durban, I bet the SA batsmen are shaking in their boots!!! LOL. Would be good to see Duminy back, he is a class batsman when in top form.

  • sankar800 on December 20, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Raina must be dropped! Pujara must be in!

  • AvidCricFan on December 20, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    This is no a form issue. It is a techic issue. Raina's technic is getting exposed on bouncy wickets. He may scratch through a score, but it will take him good effort to work through his weakness.

  • on December 20, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    wait till he bowls to you... he is the teeth of this indian attack

  • on December 20, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    Its not just an exciting prospect, its going to be his own nail in the coffin. I am quite sure Zakky won't let Smith hang around for more than 10 overs!!

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on December 20, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Well the biggest disappointment was sreesanth as he had the experience unlike raina,ishant,gambhir,dhoni don't expect wonders from vijay or pujara as well as durban and cape town are gonna be horrible green tops neither of them play the hook and pull as good as DHONI and SACHIN,zaheer will be a tremendous boost and nightmare for smith hence they won't get a stable start I expect a better show from INDIANS at durban hoping for a improved show and level series as its been a good hunting ground for us

  • praks3705 on December 20, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    that means dhoni still has no plans to leave raina out..:(

  • Morpheus273 on December 20, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Smith's off stump will go for a walk once again. I sincerely wish even if it is Sreesanth or Ishant, Smith leaves Wanderers with a broken finger...AGAIN.

  • ShashidharHundi on December 20, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Selection on Unadkat raises eye brows. He may be talented but he need to be groomed & he need to play more Ranji matches to prove himself. I feel selectors pushed him in to big cricket too early. This decision baffles me when you have bowlers like Mithun, Dhawal Kulakarni who can be worthy on SA pitches are not even considered. Good luck selectors... hope india doesn't come back with 3-0 defeat.

  • on December 20, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    zak will easily make a diffrnc n will shut smith's mouth

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  • on December 20, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    zak will easily make a diffrnc n will shut smith's mouth

  • ShashidharHundi on December 20, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Selection on Unadkat raises eye brows. He may be talented but he need to be groomed & he need to play more Ranji matches to prove himself. I feel selectors pushed him in to big cricket too early. This decision baffles me when you have bowlers like Mithun, Dhawal Kulakarni who can be worthy on SA pitches are not even considered. Good luck selectors... hope india doesn't come back with 3-0 defeat.

  • Morpheus273 on December 20, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Smith's off stump will go for a walk once again. I sincerely wish even if it is Sreesanth or Ishant, Smith leaves Wanderers with a broken finger...AGAIN.

  • praks3705 on December 20, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    that means dhoni still has no plans to leave raina out..:(

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on December 20, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Well the biggest disappointment was sreesanth as he had the experience unlike raina,ishant,gambhir,dhoni don't expect wonders from vijay or pujara as well as durban and cape town are gonna be horrible green tops neither of them play the hook and pull as good as DHONI and SACHIN,zaheer will be a tremendous boost and nightmare for smith hence they won't get a stable start I expect a better show from INDIANS at durban hoping for a improved show and level series as its been a good hunting ground for us

  • on December 20, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    Its not just an exciting prospect, its going to be his own nail in the coffin. I am quite sure Zakky won't let Smith hang around for more than 10 overs!!

  • on December 20, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    wait till he bowls to you... he is the teeth of this indian attack

  • AvidCricFan on December 20, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    This is no a form issue. It is a techic issue. Raina's technic is getting exposed on bouncy wickets. He may scratch through a score, but it will take him good effort to work through his weakness.

  • sankar800 on December 20, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Raina must be dropped! Pujara must be in!

  • katwash on December 20, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    So Zaheer will be fit for Durban, I bet the SA batsmen are shaking in their boots!!! LOL. Would be good to see Duminy back, he is a class batsman when in top form.