Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes that someone with the experience of the left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan would have helped his team with his variations in the upcoming tour of England in July and August and hopes that the team will not suffer in his absence.
“Zaheer is someone who reads the game really well and I always felt that left-arm fast bowlers really have the advantage. They can bring the ball back in and add variation of the ball going away from the batsmen. As far as missing Zaheer is concerned, I can’t really say much because with the kind of experience he has, the fast bowling unit doesn’t really have that kind of experience. Hopefully we won’t miss him, but as I said, I can’t really say anything,” said Dhoni.
Zaheer, 35, was not included in the 18-man squad for the tour of England due to a back injury sustained during the Indian Premier League earlier this year. During the last tour of England, Khan had limped off in the opening day of the series in 2011 with a strained hamstring with India going on to lose the Test series 4-0. This time around the Indian selectors have put their faith on Ranji veteran Pankaj Singh along with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Ishwar Pandey to deliver for India.
The England tour commences on June 26 with a three-day game in Leicester. The visitors are to play one more warm-up three-day game against Derbyshire (July 1-3) before the five-match Test series starts on July 9 at Trent Bridge. The remaining Tests are to be played at Lord’s (July 17-21), The Rose Bowl in Southampton (July 27-31), Old Trafford (August 7-11) and The Oval (August 15-19).