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Zaheer's fitness key to India's succes

Press Trust Of India
Sep 18, 2012 at 11:46pm IST

Colombo: Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan quickly needs to regroup his resources and improve his fitness level if India are to fancy their chances of winning the World Twenty20 again, feels former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram.

"Zaheer's fitness looked suspect. He did not look sharp enough and probably his energy levels were not up to the mark.

I know Sri Lankan conditions are extremely demanding, but if Zaheer has to lead India's attack, he has to be at the peak of his fitness. Dhoni's selection worries, I would imagine, will be around his senior players like Zaheer, Harbhajan and Irfan Pathan," Akram told ESPNStar.com.

Akram said that the loss against Pakistan in the warm-up game has left skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni with the dilemma of whether to go in with five specialist bowlers or opt for the additional batsman, considering that bowling in the death overs has been a worry.

"The match against Pakistan will force MS Dhoni to mull over his first XI. While it's always a horses-for-courses policy, deciding the playing XI will always be a tough call.

"For a Twenty20 game, India have several 'all-rounders' and that will enable Dhoni pick four specialist bowlers and seven batsmen. The fact that Sehwag, Raina, Yuvraj and Kohli are decent bowlers is a great bonus for Team India," he said.

Akram expressed his happiness over the inclusion of Yuvraj Singh in the Indian team.

"It was great to see Yuvraj back in the field. I saw his quickfire 34 off 26 balls against the Kiwis in Chennai.

Typically, Yuvraj connected a few lusty blows but his timing has to get sweeter. The fact he is back to international cricket is only due to the Almighty's blessings and I am sure everyone's going to watch him closely in Sri Lanka," he said.

The pace legend picked India and Pakistan as favourites to lift the trophy on the slow familiar tracks of the island nation where they have played a lot of cricket.

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