The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sunny wants Zak’s fitness tested

Calcutta: Sandeep Patil and his colleagues have faith in Zaheer Khan, but former India captain Sunil Gavaskar thinks that India’s pace spearhead, who is going through a lean patch, should be put through “stringent tests” to ascertain his fitness in the run-up to the first of the four-match Test series against England.

“I think what they should be doing is because there’s still eight or nine days to go before the Test series begins… They need to have stringent fitness tests for him a couple of days before the game,” Gavaskar told a television channel.

“So on 13th November, two days before the first Test, they should have stringent fitness tests for him where he would bowl full speed, so that selectors know that he is 100 per cent fit. If he is not able to do that on that day then they should be looking for someone else,” he added.

The new selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil Monday included Zaheer in the 15-member squad for the first two Tests against England, starting November 15. Zaheer and Sachin Tendulkar played for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy match against the Railways to get back to form ahead of the four-match series.

But Gavaskar is not ready to give much importance to Ranji matches as far as senior players are concerned.

“In case of proven performers, somebody with 400-plus wickets in Tests, I don’t think Ranji performance is that important. As long as the selection committee believes that he has been bowling well, they can come back in the team.

“If a proven batsman, who has thousands of runs in Test cricket, doesn’t do well in a Ranji Trophy game it doesn’t mean that he is not good enough for the national team,” he said.