Dhoni is looking for a rapid improvement from Khan
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has hailed veteran pace bowler Zaheer Khan as the bowling version of legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Khan has been the talking point for many cricket pundits since he has not been performing to the best of his abilities in recent months, but Dhoni was quick to defend his opening bowler, saying that people should think more before criticising right away.
“It is easier to go after a bowler, if you look at his performances he should get equal respect that Sachin gets. He is the Sachin for us when it comes to the bowling department. He has led out attack for the last few years; he has been our best bowler whatever the format. Maybe in the last few games he has not got the wickets whether it be Test cricket, ODIs or T20 formats,” Dhoni said.
Throughout the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, Khan went for a lot of runs and did not take many wickets to make up for it, and with many youngsters starting to make their mark in the squad, some people are questioning whether it is time for Khan to throw in the towel.
“We have a chance of giving Zaheer a few games because we are in that stage where we can look to do that, but other players who are part of the side we also want to give games to them so that in the knockout stage everybody has had a few games. We are looking to make a few changes to our playing X1 so that most of the players get at least one game before going into the next stage. Later on if we are looking to play with the fifth bowler we will be able to play the fifth bowler who suits the conditions the best. It may happen in this game but see how it goes in the coming game and then we will be in a better position to decide in the next stage whether we have to play with five bowlers or we can manage with four,” Dhoni said.
However, Dhoni also issued a warning to Khan, saying that he had to step up in the next couple of series if he does not want to see himself replaced by another bowler who is on top of his game.
“If you are playing with four bowlers and a part-timer, one of the bowlers can have an off-day at any time, but if one becomes two then there is considerable amount of pressure about how you will manage the resources. It is only a few games that we have in our hand. We hope being the experienced cricketer he is, he gets back and really works for us,” Dhoni added.