Thatscricket - News - Pak tour: 'Zaheer, Harbhajan likely to be fit'

Published: Sunday, January 25, 2004, 22:45 [IST]
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Pak tour: 'Zaheer, Harbhajan likely to be fit'
Sunday, January 25 2004 17:15 Hrs (IST)

Kolkata:Indian speedster Zaheer Khan and spinner Harbhajan Singh, who sustained injuries during the ongoing Australia tour, were expected to become fit before the historic India-Pakistan Test series to be held in March-April.

''Both Zaheer and Harbhajan are nursing injuries. But I am hopeful that they will recover and become fit before the Pakistan tour," the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection committee chairman Syed Kirmani told newspersons in Kolkata on Sunday.

Stating that such injuries were part and parcel of the game, the former Indian wicketkeeper said ''it should not cause any tension in the side.''

Zaheer was opted out in the fourth and final Test against the Aussies early this month and also the ongoing tri-series following a left hamstring injury. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was ruled out of the engagements Down-Under due to an index finger injury.

Kirmani said with adequate rest and medication, both the players were ''expected to be back to business'' before the Indians visit Pakistan next month.

The Indian team is scheduled to travel to Pakistan in the first week of March for a Test series and One-day matches after a gap of 14 years following easing of tension between the two South Asian neighbours in recent months.

Kirmani, who termed India's performance in Australia as 'the best ever' on a foreign tour, expressed confidence that the team led by Sourav Ganguly would fare well in the Pakistan tour.

The selection committee chairman, however, gave all the credit to skipper Ganguly and his wards for the team's spectacular performance against the mighty Aussies. ''It’s the captain and the players and not the selection committee, who deserve to be congratulated,'' he said.

Asked about the selection of the Indian side for the Pak tour, he said the committee would be meeting after his return from Australia next month to pick up the Indian squad.

Commenting on the current Indian contingent, Kirmani said ''There is good blend of youth and experience in this side. We are looking ahead to build a strong side for the years to come.''

To a question, the former Indian cricketer admitted that the bowling department, at times, appeared to be a weak link in the side, "But then, there will always be some weaknesses somewhere in the squad. We have to sort it out.''

In this context, he said, "if any youngster puts up good performance in the domestic arena, he will be picked up.'' The legendary wicketkeeper, however, resented that some people were expressing doubts over the wicketkeeping abilities of Parthiv Patel.

''He is a promising player and is doing a good job. Those who are raising finger against him, don't know anything about 'keeping'''

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