Home > Features >

Dhoni will look up to Zaheer and Yadav to play meaningful roles against England

Zaheer Khan & Umesh Yadav s importance cannot be underestimated against England

While Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are likely to hog the limelight on the spin-friendly tracks against England, Zaheer Khan (left) and Umesh Yadav (right) will have meaningful roles to play © Getty Images

 

A spinner-less India A squad is to take on England in the first practice game. This gave rise murmurs that pace-friendly tracks would be employed in the tour matches – a ploy to shield India’s spin weapons. 

 

Yes, Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha have been brilliant at home in the last two series – against West Indies and New Zealand. But England will be a stronger opposition than the men from the Caribbean and the Kiwis.
 

Indeed, India’s pacemen will have a pivotal role to play if it has to win the series. If one looks at some of India’s recent home series wins, one would find that the fast bowlers had a critical role to play.
 

Zaheer Khan has been dominant at home – even in unfriendly conditions. His skills with the old ball were more than handy as he would come in the later stages to dent the opposition’s batting and come up with match-winning performances. 

Ishant Sharma and Shantakumaran Sreesanth, too, have done their bit in the recent past. The big worry, however, is that Zaheer’s overall form has nose-dived, Ishant is working his way back post-injury and Sreesanth isn’t on the radar because of a niggle.

 

Through all that, it is Umesh Yadav whose progress has been heartening. Along with Varun Aaron, he represents India’s hopes for a genuine tearaway and has lived up to those expectations so far. While Aaron battles injury problems, Yadav has established himself as India’s No 2, behind Zaheer. He may be a bit too expensive, but is an effective wicket-taker. It would be worth playing him. It is the early part of his career and he will improve as he plays more Test matches.

 

As CricketCountry’s Chief Writer, Arunabha Sengupta pointed out in his article, Zaheer has picked only 18 wickets since making a comeback in Australia late last year. Statistics show that it is a sharp decline when compared to his phenomenal figures from 2007-2011. What is worrying is that it has coincided with Ishant’s decline. The tall right-armer was brilliant in the West Indies last year and carried that form into the first two Tests in England. However, since then he has failed to pick more than two wickets in a match.

 

Ishant may only be 24 years old, but he has played 45 Test matches – a significant number. His talent is obvious and has the pace to trouble the batsman. From the young man who announced his arrival at Perth in 2008, his career hasn’t unfolded as one expected. He is far from living up to his potential and performing consistently for India. A career bowling average of 37.87 doesn’t do justice to that prodigious ability and is too high for someone who has played 45 Tests.

 

Despite the long-lay off due to injury, Ishant was picked as the third-seamer for the Test series against New Zealand. However, he hasn’t been named in the India A squad to take on England in the warm-up game. Thus, he would play for Delhi in their Ranji Trophy opener which starts on November 2.

 

Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda, Parwinder Awana and R Vinay Kumar would have the opportunity to push Ishant for the third-seamer’s role in the India A game. In all likelihood, India will only play two seamers in the Tests – Zaheer and Yadav being the obvious choices. The remaining spot would be for the bench. In fact, given Zaheer’s struggle and the uncertainty over Ishant’s form, the Indian selectors may be a bit worried and would watch the practice game with keen interest, even as some of the batsmen stake their claims.

 

Dinda seems to be the frontrunner in the quartet as he has been in fantastic form in domestic cricket. He had a decent tour to Sri Lanka with the Indian team and has been impressive this year. Pathan is the sort of player who is always in the fray, but there is always a dilemma over his Test spot. His bowling has been good in the limited-overs and he may need another domestic season to prove his credentials for the classical format. Vinay Kumar and Awana are the outside contenders.

 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni would hope that Zaheer gets back into good rhythm and rallies India. He must provide India a good start with the new ball and follow it up with a skilful performance with the old ball. Umesh too must build on his promise and help make the task easier for the spinners. It isn’t just the form of the openers that is worrying, but India also needs its fast-bowlers to rise to the occasion.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at London

More

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014  at Southampton

England won by 266 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

5 things you need to know about Graham Thorpe

India vs England 2014, 4th Test at Old Trafford: Ajinkya Rahane needs to play decisive role

10 little-known facts about Sir Frank Worrell

Statistical analysis of Jacques Kallis’s ODI career

Ajinkya Rahane England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Jacques Kallis Jacques Kallis retirement James Anderson Moeen Ali South Africa

India A clinch Quadrangular series with 4-wicket win over Australia A

Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson spat: We will take call after receiving order copy, says BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel

Ireland women cricket team to play South Africa in September

India tour of England 2014: Moeen Ali is a rapidly emerging spinner, feels Peter Moores

Cameron White’s ton powers Australia A to 274/5 against India A in Quadrangular final

India lost not just a Test, but respect as well

Waqar Younis’s presence will boost all departments, not just bowling: Mudassar Nazar

India tour of England, 2014: MS Dhoni should call up Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson row: An indecisive verdict

India A vs Australia A 2014, final: Last chance for future stars to shine on tour

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

658 Posts | 6 Fans

Sachin Tendulkar's nine dismissals against James Anderson

Bomb explosions during Salman Khan’s Kick screening in Pakistan!

Facebook users dial 911 over outage, cops frown

Why is Salman Khan going to Canada?

Akhilesh Yadav in Saharanpur photo controversy: Uttar Pradesh government dismisses it

Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson spat: We will take call after receiving order copy, says BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel

Court seeks details on objection to ministries’ social media profiles

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

493 civilians killed in Naxal-hit Maha districts in 3 decades

Hamas defends Gaza ambush blamed for ending ceasefire

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here