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Cricket
Zaheer Khan ruled out of Test
Both India and England have hamstring injuries to contend with although momentum is with England going into second Test.
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2011 14:49
England produced a strong all round performance with victory over world No 1 ranked India at Lord's [GALLO/GETTY]

India's tour of England could definitely have got off to a better start.

After losing the first Test to an aggressive England team at Lord's, India are now without their most experienced bowler Zaheer Khan for Friday's Test at Trent Bridge.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Thursday his bowler has been ruled out with a hamstring injury,

Left-arm quick Zaheer broke down in the first Test, which India lost by 196 runs, after taking two wickets for 18 runs in 13.3 first innings overs and didn't bowl again in the match.

The 32-year-old was instrumental in India's seven-wicket win in the corresponding Trent Bridge Test against England four years ago, taking nine wickets for 134 runs in the match.

Now his place is set to go to either fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth or seamer Munaf Patel.

"I think he is ruled out of this game," said Dhoni speaking to reporters at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

"It's always good to have him in the side because he is our most experienced bowler, especially when it comes to England, he has played a lot of cricket over here for counties and the last time India were here (in 2007) he bowled really well."

England also have a hamstring problem of their own with paceman Chris Tremlett a doubt for the second Test.

Tremlett bowled briefly in practice on Thursday morning before pulling out of the session with a hamstring injury.

"He has this hamstring niggle," England captain Andrew Strauss told reporters at Trent Bridge.

"We are very confident he will be fine but because there is such a short turnaround in between the two Test matches we might have to wait until tomorrow morning until we are 100 percent sure one way or another."

All-rounder Tim Bresnan, left out for the first Test, is standing by to replace Tremlett.

Dubious positive

Despite the bowling setback Indian captain Dhoni understandably wants to focus on the positives during what could be a very difficult Test series for his team in England. 

"It's a bit disappointing not to have him for selection in the first XI but it is something that is beyond our control and it gives a chance to the other bowlers to prove their mettle when it comes to international cricket," Dhoni said.

"Overall it's a win-win situation for the Indian team because we can't really sit and say Zaheer is not there. We have to look at the positive, which is some of the other bowlers will get to have a look at international cricket."

The tallest of the bunch Chris Tremlett took four wickets for England in the first Test [GALLO/GETTY] 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni, who refused to divulge the identity of Zaheer's replacement at Trent Bridge, said he hoped India's spearhead would be fit in time for the third Test, starting at Edgbaston on August 10.

"We are expecting that. He started light training yesterday (Wednesday) but again it is something we can't 100 percent be sure about but most likely it seems he will."

India also has a doubt over opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who suffered an elbow injury when hit fielding at short leg at Lord's.

If he were ruled out Rahul Dravid, as happened in the second innings at Lord's, would be promoted to open the innings with Yuvraj Singh in line to take Gambhir's place in the team.

The last-minute restructuring is the last thing India need as they attempt to level the series.

The underlying prize from the Test series is the battle for number one status in the world rankings.

Number three England need to win by at least two Tests to leapfrog South Africa and topple top-ranked India.

This seemed quite unlikely going into the first Test, however the odds have slimmed dramatically over the last week.

Source:
Agencies
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