Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Akram – India need a fully fit Zaheer

Pakistan legend Wasim Akram has insisted India’s chances at this World Twenty20 tournament depend on Zaheer Khan improving his fitness and form. The Indian bowler has come under the spotlight following a disappointing performance in his team’s opening game of the tournament against Afghanistan.

The 33-year old has been made something of a scapegoat for India’s sluggish victory, perhaps unfairly, but it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Zaheer will keep his place in the team. Despite going for over 10 an over, the pace bowler is likely to hang onto his spot in the bowling attack, but there will be big pressure on the veteran to prove he is still deserving of his position.

Conditions in Sri Lanka are never fast bowler-friendly, but Zaheer did himself no favours against the aggressive Afghan batting line-up with a lacklustre performance. Teams won’t win the tournament with spin alone, and having consistent and reliable pace bowler will be essential to success in Sri Lanka.

It may have been a case that the bowler failed to get himself fired up for the opening match of the tournament because it wasn’t against one of the bigger teams, but Wasim Akram has insisted India will need their experienced players to vastly improve from their first game performance if they are going to have any chance of winning their second World Twenty20 title.

"Zaheer's fitness looked suspect. He did not look sharp enough and probably his energy levels were not up to the mark. I know Sri Lankan conditions are extremely demanding, but if Zaheer has to lead India's attack, he has to be at the peak of his fitness,” said Akram.

“MS Dhoni's selection worries, I would imagine, will be around his senior players like Zaheer, Harbhajan and Irfan Pathan,”

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