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India left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan’s long-time coach Sudhir Naik has admitted that he doesn’t believe the national selectors will consider the veteran seamer again.
Naik’s comments come after Khan was not included in India’s Test squad for their upcoming tour of England.
Khan, who is India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 311 wickets, recently injured his back while playing for the Mumbai Indians in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and is now resting at home after having visited a specialist in London.
“I don’t think the selectors will consider Zaheer again,” Naik said. “It will be very, very difficult for Zaheer to make a comeback into the Indian team.
“The only possibility is if the younger lot of pace bowlers selected fail miserably. Then, the selectors might consider Zaheer again. Otherwise, there is no chance.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) did not specify why they had left Khan out of the Test team, but it is likely to be attributed to his injury or fitness levels.
“Although he would be fit for the Test series, the selectors would not like to take a risk with Zaheer’s fitness,” he said. “Their major concern would have been whether he could last for the full series. So, that is why they did not select him.”
Naik also revealed that Khan’s dream was to represent India in 100 Test matches, but it is likely that Khan will retire with 92 Tests next to his name.
“His dream was to complete 100 Tests and then retire,” Naik said. “But I guess now that will not happen. I was confident that he could achieve his goal when he returned to full fitness after a nearly one-year injury lay-off. But unfortunately, this injury has practically ended his international career. There are only 25% chances of him making a comeback now.”