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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Zaheer and Murali spice up the Lankan test series

Photograph of Muralithran taken in 2004Image via Wikipedia
India is playing Sri Lanka in another series - for a change, it is a test series at home. Yawn.

Just as things were getting predictable and boring, Zaheer Khan and Muralitharan decided to spice up the series by their announcements in the last 2 days.

Zaheer Khan has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury. In his place, comes in the rookie Mithun (from Karnataka). There is a lot of pressure on the Indian bowling attack now - Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma, who have had no match practice after the IPL (forget longer versions of the game), will be expected to lead the new ball. Mithun is more of an insurance - expected to play only if one of the two gets injured. Zaheer is missing a series again due to injuries - surely a routine inspection of the fitness of bowlers (if not the entire team) is needed. Will the BCCI take heed? Dont think so.

Murali, on the other hand, will play the first test of the series as the last of his career. He has not made up his mind on the ODI/T20 career but is sure that he will play for Chennai SuperKings in IPL - intesting, no? I would not make his case as one who is plunging into the T20 just for money but questions do arise to the common man. His absence would have made India the favorites if not for Zaheer's absence. Who will lead the Lankans' spin attack? Rangana Herath has done well recently and would be expected to step up to the challenge. Mendis will be a threat once again (one will remember the earlier series in Lanka when he ripped apart the Indian team).

The injuries have started even before the Indian team left the shores. Will the list continue during the series also? One hopes that the usual suspects (Sehwag) do not extend the list. Only time will tell.
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