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)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 54 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Kane, Devcich praise each others knock

Live Cricket Score Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 Match 8: CSK romp home by 54 runs

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Key Battles

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: CSK’s likely XI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Dolphins’ likely XI

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kuldeep Yadav’s dramatic debut for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) shows he is one for the future

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab

Anandji Dossa passes away

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) romp to 54-run win against Dolphins in CLT20 2014 Match 8 at Bangalore

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 Match 8 at Bengaluru: Vaughn van Jaarsveld dismissed

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 Match 8 at Bengaluru: Cody Chetty dismmised by Dwayne Bravo

List of highest innings’ totals in CLT20 and overall T20 cricket

List of highest innings’ totals in CLT20 and overall T20 cricket

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Key Battles

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: CSK’s likely XI

Jalaluddin takes first ODI hat-trick

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Dolphins’ likely XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

670 Posts | 6 Fans

CLT20 2014: Kings Xi Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, final over

50% of all cancers are detected late

Your newborn might not be as fragile as you thought!

Small World Music Festival Presents: Classical Indian Music

iPhone 6 sales outpacing iPhone 6 Plus, usage tracker reveal

Kajol at the United Nations headquarters-View pic!

Apple iPhone 5S now available for less that Rs 35,000 on Indian e-commerce sites

Mumbai model Ekta Babbar commits suicide

Hrithik Roshan: I am not reprising Tom Cruise in Bang Bang!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here