London, July 22: He may be India's spearhead paceman, but reports coming from within the four walls the Indian dressing room at Lords indicate that Zaheer Khan won't be joining the Indian attack for the rest of the first innings against England. This is serious set-back to a team whose bowling attack is already beleaguered after a largely fruitless first day.
A gammy hamstring which Zak picked up while half-way through his 13th over on Thursday is the apparent culprit. He has had problems with that part of his anatomy in the past, while last year a sore groin saw him miss some of a Test encounter with New Zealand and later, the first Test against South Africa during India's 2010-11 tour of the Rainbow Nation.
It indeed seems like the woes of age are catching up for the 33-year-old. After all, he has bowled less than 70 overs in the last calender year. However, for a man whose career statistics boasts 271 Test scalps at an average of 31.94, Zak seems capable of going the distance. He is also one of the team's fittest players in terms of weight and is built well to be a fast bowler.
But does he have the kind of work ethic becoming of someone with the most physical-intensive job on the field? The custom stipulates that fast bowlers need to follow a strict regimen which requires, as the great Kapil Dev demonstrated in his time, constant exertion of all muscle groups. After all, fast bowling is a grossly unbalanced action which relies on a firm integration of muscles. Has Zaheer been doing his home-work?