Zaheer Khan may have only been picked for the Indian Test squad ahead of next month’s tour of South Africa but the senior pacer will now be travelling with the ODI squad as well. The decision was made by the BCCI after Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had requested the board for the same. With India playing three ODIs in the first couple of weeks in December followed by two Tests in the second half,the BCCI has informed Zaheer of his early departure for South Africa.
The bowler who is currently playing Mumbai’s Ranji game against Vidarbha has in turn informed Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) of his unavailability for subsequent Ranji games. Zaheer is currently leading the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team having taken 15 wickets in the four matches he has played so far.
Zaheer will be flying with the Indian team on December 2. Zaheer told us that he won’t be available for coming two Ranji games. We will love to see him making a good comeback for India, MCA joint-secretary Nitin Dalal said.
It is reliably learnt that Dhoni wants Zaheer’s expertise to be used in the Proteas tour. The Indian pace attack for the ODIs comprises Shami Ahmed,Bhuvaneshwar Kumar,Mohit Sharma,Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma. Apart from Ishant none have experience of South African conditions. Dhoni who had earlier described Zaheer as the ‘Sachin Tendulkar of Indian bowling’ wanted the senior pacer who has 88 Test caps to guide them.
Dhoni had requested to allow Zaheer to fly with the Indian team. Players have high praise for him (Zaheer) and with so much experience his presence will be helpful. At same time Zaheer will also get adjust to the conditions before Test match begins, a BCCI official said.
The Indian pacer had spoken recently had said he likes to work and encourage young bowlers. That comes naturally for me; if I want to help someone,I dont hesitate upto him. Being a bowler (seamer) … is never an easy task. You have to keep encouraging them and give them the confidence, Zaheer had said few days ago after his selection to the Test team.
Mumbai’s young pace attack hold the 35-year-old in high esteem,and India pacer Umesh Yadav too views him as a mentor. He is brilliant reader of the game and knows what kind of line one has to bowl to different batsman. I always looked upto him and have taken tips whenever possible. His knowledge and inputs have helped all of us, Yadav said.