12 October 2007

Zaheer needs a rest

Zaheer Khan has been bowling non-stop ever since he started on his comeback mission. Some time during the England tour, he admitted that the rigour of Worcestershir county cricket, where he bowled over after over, practically every day for several months, helped him get his rhythm back. In South Africa and in England, he finally became the spearhead that he had promised so often but had delivered only for a brief period prior to the 2003 World Cup - in West Indies, England and New Zealand.

But for a shocking first morning at Lords this year, Zaheer constantly troubled the English batsmen with some high quality swing bowling with balls old and new. Starting with Grame Smith, and then Andrew Strauss, he has been a handful for a few left hand opening batsmen over the past year.

Take a look at his ODI figures over the last eleven ODIs that he has played in:

- Vadodara (0/23 from 3)
- Chandigarh (0/68 from 9)
- Hyderabad (2/61 from 10)
- Kochi (1/55 from 10)
- Bangalore (1/64 from 10)
- Lords (0/40 from 9)
- Oval (1/43 from 10)
- Leeds (1/44 from 8)
- Manchester (1/45 from 9)
- Birmingham (0/49 from 10)
- Southampton (1/49 from 10)

From absolutely brilliant in England, he was downright mediocre in Chandigarh and Vadodara. It may be a reflection of the quality of the opposition and the pitches, but it needs to be remembered that the ODI series in England was pretty high-scoring.

With a long season ahead including Tests against Pakistan and Australia, India needs its pace spearhead fresh and thinking clear. It is unnecessary that India play him in the last two matches of this series. The Colonel had an opportunity to do more than lip service to the rotation mantra-and this was a case where it might have had some merit.

9 comments:

Uncle J rod said...

Yeah bring Sreesanth in, Khan is your only a grade quick at the moment and he needs a spell.

Stuart said...

I agree that it is time to rest Zaheer. He has impressed me with his improvement over the past few years, and is clearly India's best quickie. There is nothing to be gained from burning him out prior to the Australian tour, where India's success may ride on his ability to knock over the Australian top order.

Sumit Chakraberty said...

is it only a coincidence that both zaheer and powar did so well in england, both were left out of the t20 team, and both have gone off the boil on their return to the team? i think the reverse of conventional wisdom is at work here - keep players going when they're doing well unless they're really tired or injured. i suspect rohit will also be a shadow of what he was in sa - he's been kept out too long.

Soulberry said...

If I have to play Zaheer, I'll use him minimum first change (not before that) and in short spells. He's a better death bowler than in the middle part of his career.

If it has to come to that, he needs a score to bowl at.

Uncle J rod said...

Powar should be brought back in. Kartik just isnt as funny.

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