Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unspoken Sadness of India's Test Squad

The announcement of the Indian Test Squad for the 4th Test was greeted with the usual gamut of emotions ranging between applause, bemusement, frustration, ridicule. and vehement anger. You can justify all of these and a fair few more in the face of such a shameful phase in Indian Cricket that has left their proud reputation in tatters.

One that was missing in the reaction to this Squad was a deep feeling of Appreciative Sadness with the dropping of Zaheer Khan that will more than likely spell the end to the great bowlers Test career.

It might seem a bit presumptuous to assume this with Zaheer being a noted warrior that has turned his finger up at critics who have written him off before. Coupled with an Indian Team talking up a transitional phase in their history only to show in their actions that talk is very cheap. With them turning too and relying on diminished veterans rather than roll the dice on the precocious talents of youth.

Sadly for people like I who truly are in awe of every thing that is Zaheer, truth is a bitter pill to swallow with the current Test series showing that he has gone from being a bowling thoroughbred with real skill and threat to merely being a cart horse. That still has the skills supported by the wily old foxes mind, but the cutting edge has dissipated with him morphing into a holding military medium bowler that leaks runs.

Supporting my contention are his figures with him taking 83 wickets at 25.28 with an exceptional strike rate of 49.9 between 2009-11 compared to 15 wickets at 49.26 with a strike rate of 97.9 in his 8 Tests in 2012. Symbolically the rise and fall of Zaheer has coincided with the Teams results with the period between 2007-11 seeing India have a record of 21 Test wins with just 10 loses compared to the results of this year which stand at 7 loses and 3 win with 2 of the wins coming against New Zealand at home.

There may be more popular cricketers sitting on mountains of runs in this team, but facts, figures and recent history tells you just why Zaheer — a pacer who can make the ball talk, shout or sing — is by far India’s most valuable player.( Sandeep Dwivedi )

An absolute Oracle of Truth wrapped in real clarity from Mr Dwivedi.

Making you question again why the Indian Media/Fan base has essentially let Zaheer slip into the darkness of the night without anything be spoken in his honour.

Maybe like most they have a  focus on his rather skewed career figures of 295 wickets at an unflattering average of 32.35, but figures are like a Woman's dress in that they cover more than they reveal.

The reality of Zaheer is that he is more than likely the most under rated Test player of the modern era and a true genius as a bowler. in my mind one of the cleverest bowlers seen in a long while with a Dennis Lillee like calibre to think out batsmen who thought they were the fox only to have Zaheer show them that he is indeed the foxes tail... 

A marriage of the old and the new too with devastating effect. He always had the ability to swing traditionally or seam, but he will always be remembered as a true Master of the games most lethal tactic in reverse swing. To the point that he even had his opponent in inspired awe
England seamer James Anderson on Wednesday revealed that he started practising the art of reverse swing after watching Zaheer Khan's stupendous success during India's tour of England back in 2007.

Imitation is always the highest form of praise is it not?

In truth, many could try to replicate Zaheer in this manner but none had his ability with the old ball to make even the very best batsmen look silly with his 'Irish'

Genius that tantalised and excited you so much that it was verging on Sexual.

Thank You Zaheer Khan

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