India vs South Africa 2018: Bowling consultant Zaheer Khan absent from the touring party

Australia v India - Third Test: Day 2
Zaheer Khan has not been included in the tour party for South Africa with no clarity on his absence
Himanshu Agrawal

What's the story?

Former India speedster Zaheer Khan, who was first appointed as India's bowling consultant when Ravi Shastri had taken over as Head Coach, is now nowhere to be seen as India have landed in South Africa for a gruelling tour.

At the time, despite the BCCI's clarification of Zaheer being a bowling consultant for India's foreign tours, he is not a part of the contingent to have boarded the flight to South Africa.

In case you didn't know..

Shastri was chosen as India's coach earlier this year after Anil Kumble had resigned, describing relations with captain Virat Kohli as having become “untenable”. It was then that the BCCI had announced Zaheer and former captain Rahul Dravid, who has been with the India U-19 and A sides since 2015, as bowling and overseas batting consultants, respectively.

But new coach Shastri had retained the support members of the previous group.

The heart of the matter

Neither the BCCI support staff nor a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which was responsible for picking India's coach and had also allegedly suggested Zaheer and Dravid's names, could confirm why Zaheer was absent from the team support staff, as reported by HT.

What's next?

The series in South Africa begins with the first Test at Cape Town on January 5. India have senior pacer Ishant Sharma among the talented group of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya in their squad to boost their fast bowling stocks.

Author's Take

Dravid is currently in New Zealand with the Under-19 side as they prepare for the World Cup starting on January 13, hence for him to have been away from the senior team is understandable. However, no clarity on the role of Zaheer, one of the best pacers to have played for India, may not exactly be surprising considering the BCCI's recent turmoils.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava


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