Zaheer Khan's absence is a big loss: Vettori

Zaheer Khan was ruled out of hamstring and ankle injuries during the England tour Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Bengaluru: Sep 19, 2011

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Daniel Vettori has said that the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan will hurt them in the Champions League Twenty20, and added that he along with Australia pacer Dirk Nannes will try to fill up for him.

Vettori told Times of India, “It is a big loss for us. The way he bowled… he took crucial wickets at very important times. He’s the guy I looked to when we needed a wicket and he got the breakthrough a majority of the time. His ability to mentor Arvind and Mithun paid real dividends for us. Arvind was probably our best bowler in the tournament and a lot of that is down to Zak’s leadership.”

He added, “I think we’ll probably look at bowling five specialist bowlers – myself and Nannes hopefully can spearhead that. Arvind was amazing for us last year. Mithun and Syed will come into play as well. And we’ve got Chris Gayle who did a pretty good job with the ball for us. Hopefully, we’re going to find a way and make use of six or seven bowlers to do the job.”

Vettori along with few key players such as AB de Villiers and explosive batsman Chris Gayle have not played competitive cricket since the end of the Indian Premier League 4, but the skipper is upbeat regarding their performance in the T20 league.

“It’s going to be tough challenge for both of us (himself and Gayle). AB de Villiers is the same so that’s why these few days’ build-up is going to be so important. We’ve got a practice game tomorrow and we’ll make sure we’re ready. There are high expectations on us after how well we played in the IPL and we really want to continue that in the Champions League,” Vettori said.