Selectors wield axe; Zaheer, Yuvraj ousted
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During the post-match press conference at the Eden Gardens after India lost their first set of back-to-back Tests at home in over a decade, skipper MS Dhoni said that 34-year-old Zaheer Khan was "not definitely unfit" and was "swinging the ball both ways".
This was in reply to a question about the fast bowling stocks and a pointed query on Zaheer's lack of wickets. A couple of hours later Zaheer was dropped from the side for the fourth and final Test to be played at Nagpur from Thursday. Lack of fitness and form apparently the reason.
A BCCI source confirmed to The Indian Express that the left-arm-paceman was indeed dropped. "Zaheer is not able to manage niggles well and look after his body. He is 34 but he is not able to handle the rigours of Test cricket. His form is also not the best," the source added.
Harbhajan Singh, the senior off-spinner and Yuvraj Singh, who made a comeback to the Test side in this series were also dropped. Delhi fast bowler Parvinder Awana, who has taken 21 wickets this season, Saurashtra all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who made two triple hundreds this season and Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner Piyush Chawla have been drafted into the squad.
Yet the decision to drop Zaheer was a clear indication that the selectors and perhaps the team management were unhappy with his overall performance. In the three Tests versus England so far he was taken just four wickets at a strike rate of 133.
Zaheer's fielding has also been under the scanner for a while but it is learnt that the selectors felt that his bowling was not effective enough in this series to warrant a place in the side.
The selectors have rewarded Awana for his consistency while Jadeja along with his form with the bat provides the option of left-arm spin.