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Zaheer goes off the field

Zaheer Khan, at the Wankhede

Mumbai: Team India had an injury scare ahead of the upcoming series against England after cramps forced pace spearhead Zaheer Khan to leave the field without completing his over during Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy match against Railways, here on Sunday.

The national selectors will meet here on Monday to pick the squad for the first Test of the four-match series.

Zaheer walked out just as he was about to bowl his last delivery of the innings’ 99th over. Railways were 333 for six at that point.

It was the first over of Zaheer’s fourth spell, and his 12th of the day. He did not return to the field thereafter.

Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar, however, said that the senior bowler would turn up for play on Monday.

“Zak is okay… He is just cramping a bit. He has had a long day and was it very humid here,” Agarkar said after the match.

Agarkar said that Zaheer started feeling uneasy after tea and added that they didn’t want to exert him as two wickets had already fallen in the session. “He has worked hard enough… In the last month he trained well. He should be on field on Monday morning… He should be okay. He is just cramping badly. It suddenly got a bit humid, so he probably dehydrated.... That is when you want to hold back a little bit instead of doing any damage. He should be okay,” Agarkar said.

“Once you are in the dressing room, you can’t bowl for that period and so it didn’t really make sense to get him back on field again… Plus, they lost two wickets later on so they were eight down anyway. It’s better when you are fresh on the next day, than making it worse. That was the only reason why Zak didn’t bowl further today,” he added.

The former India pacer also felt that Zaheer has got enough practice ahead of the Test series. “He bowled well… There are Test matches at the back of his mind... You want to get yourself ready for Test match and bowl as many overs… I think bowling 20 overs is fair workout. As a bowler, you need some overs going into big games,” Agarkar said.

“He was obviously trying to get his line, length and rhythm correct before the Test series… He is in good shape. Over the course of the Test series, the conditions will get better, weatherwise at least. This is probably the toughest work out you can have,” he said.

Zaheer bagged a wicket today, getting rid of Mahesh Rawat. At the end of the day’s play, his bowling figures read 20.5-5-41-1.