Out of favour seniors, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have found support in Sourav Ganguly, who has pressed for their inclusion in the Test side keeping in view India’s hectic upcoming schedule when they play 14 Tests in a span of just over a year.
Speaking to the Indian Express in an interview, Ganguly said, “They [Zaheer and Sehwag] must immediately be brought back into the Test side. Don’t forget India will be playing 13 Tests overseas in the next one year or so. And you need players with pedigree and experience in those conditions. And Sehwag and Zaheer have those qualities.”
Both Zaheer and Sehwag haven’t played for India for some time now. Zaheer last played for India in December 2012 against England in Tests. Sehwag played two Tests against Australia earlier this year, but was dropped mid-series and hasn’t made a comeback yet.
After recovering from the injury which he sustained in Ranji Trophy earlier this year, Zaheer went to France along with Yuvraj Singh and trained with well-known fitness expert Tim Exeter.
He returned much fitter and after a slow start, consistently got better in the four innings against West Indies A he bowled in earlier this month. He picked up 7 wickets in 2 matches he played, including a 4-wicket haul in the 2nd innings of the final match.
“Zaheer still is the best pace bowler India have. He can do so many things with the ball. And I assure you that both Sehwag and Zaheer are not yet finished,” Ganguly said in the interview.
Sehwag however, has failed to impress since his comeback. Apart from a half-century (59) in his first match in NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, he has registered scores of 8, 5 (Challenger Trophy), 7, 38 (India A vs WI A) in his last four innings.
However, Ganguly preferred to keep Sehwag’s Test record ahead of his recent form. “A player of Sehwag’s class shouldn’t be judged on his performance in domestic cricket and List A games. He should be judged by his Test record,” he said.
Zaheer has got an added boost after being named the captain of the Mumbai Ranji side recently after the retirement of Ajit Agarkar and will be leading Sachin Tendulkar in co. against Haryana from October 27.
In view of the recent bowling debacles by the Indian side against Australia, the senior pacer stands a better chance of getting a look in than Sehwag, who despite Ganguly’s words, hasn’t backed his class with performances in domestic cricket so far.