Put Zaheer through 'stringent tests': Gavaskar

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Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 11:38 [IST]
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Assess Zaheer's fitness, urges Gavaskar

Mumbai, Nov 6: Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar on Monday said that Team India's pacer Zaheer Khan should undergo stringent tests in order to assess his fitness ahead of the four-match Test series against England.

The Mumbai pacer, who has not been amongst wickets recently, was picked for the four match Test series against England on Monday, though there was an injury scare for Zaheer after he picked up a groin injury during the Ranji Trophy tie against Railways which forced him to leave the field.

Though he recovered from the injury and played for Mumbai the next day, Gavaskar felt the Indian pacer should have undergone stringent tests, and urged the team management to assess Zaheer's fitness in the next couple of days as the first Test is scheduled to begin on Nov 15 at Ahmedabad.

"I think what they should be doing is because there is still 8 or 9 days to go before the test match begins, they need to have stringent fitness test for him a couple of days before the game," Gavaskar said.

"So 13th Nov, they should have a stringent fitness test for him where he bowls full speed and runs, so that selectors know he is 100 per cent fit. If he doesn't do that on the 13th Nov then they should be looking at someone else," he added.

The new selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil's squad wasn't a surprise as all the changes were expected while Zaheer Khan's fitness need to be assessed.

Gavaskar also added that Harbhajan's selection was based on experience as the turbanator has not been taking wickets off-late but his record at home and overall tally of 406 wickets off 98 Tests, good performance against England would have got him a Test recall.

He further added that since he is a proven performer, things vary, and Ranji performance wouldn't matter much as far as the Board ensures trust in him.

"It's like a batsman, a proven batsman who has thousands of runs in Test cricket and if he doesn't do well in a Ranji Trophy game it doesn't mean he is not good enough for the national team," he said.

Gavaskar also felt that the selection was quite good, but suggested to have a few more players in the squad in order to replace in case of injuries.

The little master also felt that the cricketers should not be sitting idle in the dressing room, rather allow atleast two players to play Ranji Trophy.

"I would actually prefer a 12-member squad. There is a Ranji match that is happening. Then I would have players playing Ranji Trophy matches. It is better to have practice than to sit in the dressing room and do nothing," he said.

"If selection committee decides this is going to be the formation of their 11, well may be keep a couple of players handy in case of any last minute illness on the morning of the match. I would think they should release at least two players to go back and play in Ranji trophy," he added.


Story first published:  Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 9:53 [IST]
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