Zaheer Khan has the experience of bowling in South Africa, which will be crucial for the youngsters touring the rainbow nation next month
Experienced pacer Zaheer Khan, who has been selected in the Test squad for India’s tour to South Africa in December, will now be leaving earlier than expected for the rainbow nation to assist Indian bowlers during the ODIs, which are scheduled before the Tests.
Zaheer wasn’t selected in the ODI squad but BCCI has made the decision to send him with the team after captain MS Dhoni requested for the left-armer’s presence, to help the team’s younger crop of bowlers.
Zaheer is currently captaining the Mumbai team in Ranji Trophy against Vidarbha, and has notified the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) of his unavailability for the upcoming Ranji games.
“Zaheer will be flying with the Indian team on December 2. Zaheer told us that he won’t be available for coming two Ranji games. We will love to see him making a good comeback for India,” MCA joint-secretary Nitin Dalal told Indian Express.
India’s squad for the ODIs has 5 pacers in it – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma. Apart from Ishant, nobody else has played in South Africa before. It’s obvious then why MS Dhoni wants Zaheer to be present with the young bowlers and perform the role of a mentor.
“Dhoni had requested to allow Zaheer to fly with the Indian team. Players have high praise for him (Zaheer) and with so much experience his presence will be helpful. At same time Zaheer will also get adjust to the conditions before Test match begins,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
India will play 3 ODIs against South Africa starting 5th December, before the 2-match Test series begins on 18th December.