Zaheer: Ishant must lead India's attack

India

Veteran India fast bowler Zaheer Khan will not be playing in England this month, and has urged fellow paceman Ishant Sharma to take up the leadership of the bowling attack in his absence.

Veteran India fast bowler Zaheer Khan will not be playing in England this month, and has urged fellow paceman Ishant Sharma to take up the leadership of the bowling attack in his absence.

Ishant is by far the most experience bowler on the tour, and one of only three players in the squad to have played a Test in England. While his form has been erratic, Zaheer was confident his friend could step up.

Zaheer, who misses out with a back injury, told Cricinfo: "It is Ishant who has played the most number of matches and he has been around for a while. It is time he steps into that role.

"For Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] and [Mohammed] Shami, it is their first (England) tour so they will look to Ishant and [bowling coach] Joe Dawes for inputs to perform in those conditions."

He added, speaking of the balance needed in a pace attack: "I was also impressed by someone like Mohammed Shami, who was able to perform the pace bowler's role very nicely.

"For a successful bowling unit you require a good fast bowler with very good pace and Shami has that. And that helped me cope with my workload. You do need a balanced bowling attack. You can't have bowlers with similar styles.

"It was a perfect combination we had, I felt. Ishant, being a very tall guy, adds that extra bounce on helpful pitches. If conditions are suitable for swing, I come in and also bring the experience."

The veteran then said he was disappointed not to be part of the tour, given he had been working towards it for month before he got injured, but wished his colleagues all the luck.

He said: "That was the whole plan (playing in England). I have been working towards this tour for the last year. I was focusing on Test matches.

"Even through the IPL my routines were working towards the England tour. Considering all that it was disappointing to miss out. I just hope that Indian team does well on English soil."

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