Zaheer Khan Injured
India’s tour of Sri Lanka gets underway in some time and all eyes will be on India’s bowling attack.
After a long time, Zaheer Khan will not be a part of the attack owing to a shoulder injury. He has been the mainstay of pace attack since the 2007 series against England and we had the luxury of Kumble leading us in Australia later that year which was the last time Zak broke down mid series.
Ishant Sharma replaced him then and turned out to be a great find, he who could do no wrong till a year ago then was insipid in the test series against Sri Lanka last year. That was the series in which Sreesanth made his comeback to the side after a year and a half. He too petered out after one good match and the antics returned before we could say touchwood.
To understand the difference Zaheer makes to the side you need to look no further than the second test on the tour of Bangladesh earlier this year when the Deshis were mounting a resistance. From facing an innings defeat, they marched on to overhauling the deficit and bat out for time or (in my most pessimistic mind) set an enticing target and bowl India out.
Zaheer settled the matter in one superb spell in the morning session of the fourth day. With a little help from Ojha and Harbhajan, Bangladesh lost 6 wickets for 22 runs. Zak walked away with the man of the match and man of the series awards.
Later against the South Africans in a high pressure match at the Eden Gardens, he took out Graeme Smith early on the first day and returned to remove Alviro Peterson and Hashim Amla in quick succession, sparking a collapse. Trump player.
It’s no coincidence that our wins over the past two years have come with Zaheer bowling at his best.
The coming series are a big advertisement for Greg Chappell’s rotation theory and undoubtedly a stern test for Sreesanth, Ishant and Mithun. The ranking depends on how these guys cope in the absence of Zak against one of the best teams in the world.
So while Zaheer undergoes rehabilitation at the Rosebank Sports Injury Rehab Clinic in Johannesburg, we’ll all be missing him, the luxury of 20 wickets in a test he afforded us so easily.