Coach: Zaheer won't play for India again

India

Zaheer Khan's long-time bowling coach Sudhir Naik doesn't think the veteran fast bowler will play for India again, or at least the chances are slim, unless the new crop of pacemen 'fail miserably'.

Zaheer Khan's long-time bowling coach Sudhir Naik doesn't think the veteran fast bowler will play for India again, or at least the chances are slim, unless the new crop of pacemen 'fail miserably'.

Zaheer, at the age of nearly 36, suffered a back injury during the IPL this year, after only recently recovering from a prior long lay-off, and thus missed out on a place in the 18-man squad for the Tests against England.

In his stead, the selectors picked six pacemen, including Ishant Sharma, and put in three uncapped players in Ishwar Pandey, Pankaj Singh and Stuart Binny into the side following good domestic performances.

Naik told Mid-Day: "I don't think the selectors will consider Zaheer again. It will be very, very difficult for Zaheer to make a comeback into the Indian team.

"The only possibility is if the younger lot of pace bowlers selected fail miserably. Then, the selectors might consider Zaheer again. Otherwise, there is no chance."

Zaheer took just five wickets in six games for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL before being forced away with a back injury. He went to London for treatment but is fit again, though Naik believes he would not have been able to play a full Test series.

He said: "Although he would be fit for the Test series, the selectors would not like to take a risk with Zaheer's fitness. Their major concern would have been whether he could last for the full series. So, that is why they did not select him."

With Zak on 92 Tests, Naik lamented: "His dream was to complete 100 Tests and then retire. But I guess now that will not happen. I was confident that he could achieve his goal when he returned to full fitness after a nearly one-year injury lay-off.

"But unfortunately, this injury has practically ended his international career. There are only 25% chances of him making a comeback now."

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