Rahul Dravid Questions Zaheer Khan’s Test Cricket Future

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By Shruthi SU | February 20, 2014 9:58 PM EST

India's Zaheer Khan under the scanner
India's Zaheer Khan under the scanner

Expectations on India are high as they tour England later this year. Team India has not seen an overseas win since June 2011, when they beat West Indies in Kingston. Their bowling ability has been under the scanner in foreign conditions.

Zaheer Khan, who used to spearhead the Indian pace attack, has suffered due to back-to-back injuries, and the most recent one has kept him away from cricket for almost an year. The South Africa and New Zealand tours were both comeback series for the pacer. And though his bowling produced some moments - like the five-wicket haul in Wellington in the second innings, his performance lacked pace and confidence.

And veteran Rahul Dravid doubts whether the 35-year-old can once again make a successful comeback and remain a key part of the test squad.

"Can he survive five Test matches in England? I am not so sure," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo.

"I think it is a question he deeply needs to ask himself. He doesn't want to end up being someone who struggles his way through to the end. It can be really hard. And we have seen he struggled to back up time and time again in these two series. So that's an issue he needs to consider, Indian selectors need to consider."

Zaheer had spent a few months in France last year to get back in shape. He is one of India's most experienced Test bowlers with 311 wickets in 92 matches.

"He has been a great bowler for India, arguably the finest India fast bowler since Kapil Dev. I would hate to see Zaheer Khan end his career bowling 120-125 kph and limp away from international cricket. He has done a great job to get himself fit for these two series and to be fair, he has bowled well in patches, he has bowled consistently," Dravid pointed out.

India is struggling to find consistent performers in the bowling department, and the cause of concern has especially been the spinners. It has not been easy for skipper MS Dhoni or the selectors to pick bowlers who suit all conditions. Dravid stressed that patience will be key for spinners to settle in international cricket.

"We will need to show some patience with our spinners, whether it is R Ashwin or whether it's Jadeja, it's early days for both in international cricket.

"I thought we were a little bit impatient with Ashwin. We haven't given him as much a run as I would like, so I think there is an opportunity for him to get back into the side and play a few more games. He will only learn if he plays more games.

"We have seen some greats of Indian cricket, including Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, take a long time to get used to bowling with a Kookaburra ball in overseas conditions."

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India's Zaheer Khan under the scanner
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