Venkatesh Prasad Raises Concerns Over Zaheer Khan's Future

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By Shruthi SU | March 12, 2014 7:39 PM EST

Venkatesh Prasad suggests retirement for Zaheer Khan; Wasim Akram says Zaheer could stay on and teach gen-next the art of bowling. Reuters
Venkatesh Prasad suggests retirement for Zaheer Khan; Wasim Akram says Zaheer could stay on and teach gen-next the art of bowling. Reuters

After picking up a five-for in the second Test in Wellington against New Zealand and an overall 16 wickets since his comeback in the South Africa tour, one begins to wonder if it's Zaheer Khan alone or the entire bowling department under the scanner. When players who have been reliable in the past don't stand up when the team is going down, there are obviously many questions thrown at them. The main players held guilty this season are skipper MS Dhoni and the bowling spearhead for so long -- Zaheer Khan.

Former India bowler and bowling coach, Venkatesh Prasad suggested, echoing fellow Karnataka player Rahul Dravid's opinion, it's time for Zaheer to consider retirement.

"Technically, Zaheer is fantastic and has an excellent seam position. But I have seen him struggle a bit during the second spell in the longer format," Prasad said. "One of the reasons behind that could be his age and the injuries he has suffered over the years. He has been playing for 14 years now and that's not a small thing.

"His fielding is a big liability and you can't count much as far his batting is concerned. But as a bowler he is outstanding, especially in the initial spells.

"We need to allow him to take the decision and help him in the process."

After India's tour of New Zealand earlier this year, former Pakistan bowler and captain Wasim Akram said Zaheer has more to offer in terms of educating younger bowlers to take responsibility.

"It is very rare that you make a comeback having played 90 Tests. So it is just not your bowling but also your reputation at stake," Akram told ESPNcricinfo.

"But in the time left before he finally retires, Zaheer has the opportunity to contribute a lot still," Akram added. "Like Imran [Khan] did with myself and Waqar [Younis], Zak can stand at mid-on and mid-off and teach other bowlers skills like reverse swing, have a word with the young fast bowlers when things are not going well.

"Talking, explaining fast bowling is an art. Just because one is a fast bowler does not always mean he can teach easily to others. So the more Zaheer talks to the others, he will learn and teach more. I used to just ask Imran 'kya karoon, kya karoon (what should I do)' for the first three years. And that is how I learnt."

Zaheer, 35, spent a few months in France last year, along with Yuvraj Singh, to improve his fitness following a prolonged spell through injury that kept him away from cricket for almost a year. He is one of India's most experienced Test bowlers with 311 wickets in 92 matches.

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Venkatesh Prasad suggests retirement for Zaheer Khan; Wasim Akram says Zaheer could stay on and teach gen-next the art of bowling. Reuters
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