Zak won’t be back for Pak, say selectors

Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan is unlikely to make a quick comeback to India colours, with the national selectors remaining firm on their demand for him to return fully fit. The left-arm pacer, who was dropped from the fourth Test against England in Nagpur and opted out of the two T20s, will miss the upcoming limited-overs' series against Pakistan.

Sources have revealed to The Indian Express that the BCCI's national selection committee chief Sandeep Patil spoke to the Mumbai pacer before the Nagpur Test and advised him some rest and to come back fitter. Patil was of the opinion that Team India would be best served if Zaheer returns for the Tests against Australia at his peak and raring to go.

At 34, Zaheer was seen struggling during the England series, lacking rhythm with the ball. Now having taken two weeks off, Zaheer has decided to play Mumbai's next Ranji Trophy match against Madhya Pradesh in Indore. The selectors will be monitoring his progress during the match.

It's been reliably learnt that the selectors are inclined to prolong Zaheer's career and want to plan his immediate future prudently. They feel that Zaheer will be a crucial member of the Indian squad when they travel to South Africa later in 2013 as well.

"We need a fresh Zaheer for the Australia series as well and we all know when his fitness is good he comes up with match-winning performances. We need to use him well as we all know that his body and his fitness are not the same as before," a national selector said.

Patil too had not surprisingly recommended that Zaheer play a few domestic games to regain his rhythm and also work on his match-fitness. "We will assess his fitness later. In the Test matches, he didn't look at his peak," a selector added.

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