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Zaheer's experience will be missed: Mongia

Zaheer's experience will be missed: Mongia

Mongia is also pleased with Rahul Dravid's inclusion in the squad.

Bangalore: Former stumper Nayan Mongia on Friday said despite a good bench strength, the Indians would miss the experience of Zaheer Khan during the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

“It is unfortunate. He has been our bowling spearhead for the last couple of years and his experience will surely be missed even though the Indian team has enough bench strength with Ashish Nehra, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar all capable of filling in for Zaheer," Mongia told Cricketnext.com.

“I think Nehra has been working really hard and is set for a successful comeback while R P Singh will be a force to reckon with on South Africa pitches. Praveen Kumar too will be handy as a bowler while Ishant Sharma is a very talented lad and will make his mark on fast paced South African wickets backed up with the two spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, the two likely spinners to get the nod," he added.

“So the Indian bowling, sans Zaheer, looks quite formidable if they stick to a good line and length though his presence would have given more sting to the attack," Mongia observed.

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Welcoming, former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid’s name in the 30-member probables’ list as a positive sign after repeated failures of Rohit Sharma in the West Indies and the untimely injury to Suresh Raina, Mongia said Delhi lad Virat Kohli too has staked a strong claim in the Indian middle order after his fine performances in Australia during the Emerging Nations Tournament.

“I think the selectors have done a very wise thing by naming Dravid in the 30-man list and along with Sachin Tendulkar gives the Indian middle order the much needed stability after Rohit Sharma was totally exposed in the West Indies recently. Dravid’s inclusion in the final squad is almost certain as he can fill up as an opener if injured Virender Sehwag fails to recover completely on time," Mongia said.

“I also feel the selectors should pick young Virat Kohli in the squad as he has shown tremendous form during the Emerging Nations Tournament recently while the rest of the batsmen like Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina (if fully fit), Dinesh Karthik (as batsman) and Ravindra Jadeja (as an all-rounder) should pick themselves," he added.

first published:August 14, 2009, 11:47 IST