Zaheer ruled out for India

Seamer fails to recover from hamstring strain in time to play

Last Updated: 28/07/11 4:59pm

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India's bid to square the series against England has been dealt a blow with the news that Zaheer Khan will miss the second Test.

The left-arm seamer suffered a hamstring injury on day one of the first Test at Lord's and has failed to recover in time to feature at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Zaheer claimed 2-18 in 13.3 overs but was unable to bowl again during a match which the tourists eventually lost by 196 runs.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has now confirmed the 32-year-old will not be risked in Nottingham, forcing India to make at least one change to their XI.

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Munaf Patel will battle it out to fill the void, with the visitors highly unlikely to pick a second spinner in Amit Mishra.

Opportunity

"It is always good to have him (Zaheer) in the side as he's our most experienced bowler, especially when it comes to England as he has played a lot of cricket over here for counties and the last time we toured (2007) he bowled really well," Dhoni said.

"It is a bit disappointing not to have him available for selection in the XI.

"Overall, it is a win-win situation for the Indian team because we can't sit and say: 'Zaheer is not there'. We have to look at the positives, which is that some of the other bowlers will get to have another look at international cricket."
MS Dhoni Quotes of the week

"But it is something that is beyond our control - we alway say: 'injuries keep happening on and off'.

"It gives a chance for some of the other bowlers to prove their mettle when it comes to international cricket.

"Overall, it is a win-win situation for the Indian team because we can't sit and say: 'Zaheer is not there'. We have to look at the positives, which is that some of the other bowlers will get to have another look at international cricket."

If Sreesanth does replace Zaheer, his presence will add extra spice with a reminder of the last Test these teams played here - a bad-tempered contest in which the then 24-year-old seamer was fined half his match fee for a series of indiscretions.

"I think he has changed over a period of time. The more he has played the better he has got," Dhoni said of Sreesanth.

"That was four years ago, and I hope we can keep the controversies away.

"I hope it will be a much calmer Test match, for the players and the match referee."

Dhoni, however, is happy for his team to join in the verbals - as long as it does not get out of hand.

"A bit of chit-chat goes around," said the India skipper. "You have a few boundaries or limitations or guidelines that need to be followed - but if you are within that line, it's fair enough.

"That's what makes cricket more interesting. As long as nobody gets personal, it's okay."

Gambhir doubt

Speaking before practice on Thursday, Dhoni also revealed opening batsman Gautam Gambhir is "doubtful at this stage" to play as he recovers from a badly bruised elbow.

Gambhir suffered the injury after being hit while fielding at short-leg at Lord's, although he batted on the final day in an unsuccessful effort to help salvage a draw.

If he joins Zaheer on the sidelines at Trent Bridge, Yuvraj Singh would likely come into the middle-order with Rahul Dravid moving up to open.

"We'll give him some time, and see how he goes through the net sessions," said Dhoni.

"He's the only person who can judge the right amount of pain he can go through and still be able to perform."

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