Zaheer Khan one game away from Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath
By Rizwan Khatik - Fri Aug 03, 4:33 am
Zaheer Khan is just one game away from becoming the third Indian paceman, after Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath, to feature in 200 One-Day Internationals.
Whether that milestone will and should come up on Saturday, in an inconsequential game against Sri Lanka, or later in the year when Pakistan visit India for a three-match series, is the big question.
India are a completely different bowling unit in Test cricket with Zaheer in the mix. That was obvious in South Africa in 2010-11 when Zaheer missed the first Test at Centurion and India were smashed around, and when he returned for the second in Durban and inspired the side to a series-levelling victory. That was obvious, too, in England, when he limped out of the series during the first session of the first Test, rendering the Indian bowling toothless and completely devoid of firepower.
As such, the significance of keeping Zaheer fit and firing can never be exaggerated. By the same token, Zaheer is the kind of bowler who gets better the more he bowls, so Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher have a delicate balancing act ahead of them.