06 July 2007

Zaheer in England

Zaheer put up an inspired display for Worcestershire in 2006, and was along with Ganguly's return and Sreesanth's seam position, one of the stories of the South Africa tour. He had Grame Smith's number for most of the series, and was constantly on the lookout for wickets until the patience of Ashwell Prince thwarted him.
Zaheer returns to England to play a Test match, after almost six years. The last time around, it was a lacklustre display. In four matches he had a haul of eleven wickets. To be fair, Ajit Agarkar fared even worse while Ashish Nehra picked up five wickets from two matches. This time, Zaheer is expected to show leadership at the head of the pace bowling pack. With Strauss and Alistair Cook - the mature head on a young body, a left-handed opening pair, Zaheer has a proven ability to make an impression at the top of the order, swining the ball bothways. After almost eight years in the international scene (not counting the break when he was dropped shortly after the 2003 World Cup) he is by far the most experienced of our pacemen in England. If India are to win, he will need to use his extensive experience with playing in damp, overcast conditions to effectively mentor Sreesanth, Ranadeep Bose and Ishant Sharma. And this is turning out to be a much wetter late summer than we hoped for.