Zaheer Khan's SA trip hinges on skipper MS Dhoni
The national selection committee which meets in Baroda today have a few key decisions to make.
These include deciding whether to name both the ODI and Test squads together for the South Africa tour or wait for a while before naming the Test squad, since the two matches take place after the three-match ODI series.
Nevertheless, it is learnt that the team management wants to take Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay along with the ODI squad in order to help them acclimatise to South African conditions.
The five-man selection panel led by Sandeep Patil also have a crucial decision to make with regards to veteran paceman Zaheer Khan, who has been out of favour for some time.
Zaheer who has been captaining Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, underwent extensive fitness training sessions in France ahead of the season and has done well for the 40-time Ranji champions in the three games thus far.
The selectors are of the view that he should be included in the Test squad given his vast experience. They feel that he will be effective there as he has been to South Africa on numerous occasions. What’s more, he has also troubled the host skipper Graeme Smith consistently.
But Zaheer’s fate hinges on what skipper MS Dhoni thinks. If he is not very keen on having the paceman in the squad, Patil & Co won’t pressurise him into accepting their opinion.
Another interesting decision that the selectors will have to make is whether to include Gautam Gambhir. The experienced opener returned to form with a well-made century against Haryana in the Ranji Trophy recently.
Zaheer Khan in SA
Tests 6, Overs 225.2,
Wickets 23, Best 4-62