Zaheer’s experience and expertise will benefit the youngsters at Delhi Daredevils © Getty Images

Zaheer Khan, India’s vastly experienced pace bowler, was bought for Rs four crore by Delhi Daredevils (DD) after an intense bidding war with Mumbai Indians (MI). Shiamak Unwalla feels that Zaheer could find a way back to the Indian team if he manages to perform well.

Zaheer Khan rarely performs only one role. Any team he is a part of enjoys the services of not only Zaheer the bowler — in itself a more than impressive role — but also Zaheer the bowling coach. Any young pace bowler who happens to play alongside Zaheer will leave the experience wiser and more skilful.

One of the main problems with Delhi last year was that they lacked direction. The team was built around Kevin Pietersen, but his form was suspect. The bowling attack was led by Mohammed Shami, but he was erratic at best. This year, Shami and the young Jaydev Unadkat will be able to avail of the experience of Zaheer. As a mentor, Zaheer will also be able to give the likes of Gurinder Sandhu and Nathan Coulter-Nile a few tips while also contributing four economical overs. Full List of Players bought by Delhi Daredevils

Zaheer was almost not picked. He went through the first round of auctioning unsold. Till Mumbai and Delhi started their bidding war, it seemed like he would go unmarked the second time around as well. The fact that two teams were still so interested in him so late in the day would have done his confidence a world of good.

Zaheer has not been at his best for some time now. Ever since his last international match for India — in New Zealand in early 2014 — Zaheer has been largely inactive in cricket. He played the IPL that year, but was injured midway through the tournament, and has not played any cricket after that. It would be safe to assume that he will not be at his potent best in IPL 2015 either.

And yet, if he manages to put in a few good performances, and more importantly, if he can sustain his fitness throughout the tournament it might be enough to get the Indian selectors to ponder over a potential selection. While Zaheer is certainly not a long-term prospect for India at this point, having him in the team alongside youngsters like Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, and Mohammed Shami will only do them good.

Zaheer might not be the bowler he was five years ago; but if he can do enough in IPL 2015 to warrant a spot in Team India again, he will be able to guide the young Indian pace attack and harness them into a well-oiled unit. The first step on the marathon back to the national side will be the short sprint of IPL.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)