Indian team management’s fascination for a left-arm pacer in its ranks is well-known but veteran Zaheer Khan feels that the board shouldn’t go “crazy” with their quest, PTI reported.
Over the past few years, India have tried a number of left-armers including Barinder Sran, Jaydev Unadkat, and recently Khaleel Ahmed.
“If you have that variation [left-armer’s], it’s certainly an advantage but you don’t have to go crazy about trying to find a left-armer.” Zaheer was quoted as saying.
“It is all about contributing to team’s cause. Left-arm pacers are a natural talent and you don’t have control over when you will get one,” he added.
Ahmed struggled in New Zealand, where conditions were conducive for swing bowling and the former pacer observed that the youngster has some catching up to do.
“Yes, the length that [Khaleel bowled] was on the shorter side for sure. In conditions, where there is help for swing bowling, you have to get the ball right up there [pitch it up] and these are things the bowler has to learn at this level,” Zaheer said.
However, the highest wicket-taker during India’s 2011 World Cup triumph is confident that the young quick could learn a thing or two from teammate Jasprit Bumrah, who has made rapid strides in international cricket.
“For Khaleel, it’s still early days in his career,” said Zaheer. “Talent-wise, he is there but at this level, it’s all about how quickly you can learn and adapt to pressures of international cricket. Look at Bumrah and how he has evolved as a bowler and you get a comparison.
“Bumrah has learnt a lot and is always adding new things to his armoury, which is very important and bowlers like Khaleel need to take inspiration from. Spend more time with Bumrah, ask him questions,” he added.
But the biggest advantage for Khaleel, according to Zaheer is the support system around him. “It is all about how you evolve in your journey to become a good fast bowler and his journey so far has been good. He has been getting right kind of guidance through and through and at the international level, he has shown the glimpse of what he can deliver. So now, it’s up to him to get up to the speed of international cricket.”
Zaheer is happy that India now have a proper pack of speed merchants, who can share each other’s burden in tough conditions.
Reminded of times when he didn’t have a good back-up seamer in Test matches alongside him, Zaheer said: “When the burden is shared, it’s always comfortable isn’t it? You will get results for sure.
“It was evident during the last year or so for India. Our pacers were consistently taking wickets and they are being shared. It shows that different bowlers have put their hands up in different situations and that’s one heartening thing about the Australia series as well,” said Zaheer.
The Indian pace attack took the maximum wickets by a quartet during the last year, breaking the record of the famous line-up of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Michael Holding.
“If you go through matches, you will see different bowlers have had impact at different situations in the series. And that’s something which is very important. You had a Bumrah spell in Melbourne and Shami had a few fantastic spells and then Ashwin in Adelaide when he took three wickets.”