Friday, May 06, 2011

I will always back Zaheer, says Vettori

Zaheer Khan has been Royal Challengers Bangalore's leading wicket-taker (seven wickets) in this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but at a price. The left-arm seamer has conceded 8.64 runs per over, when compared to skipper Daniel Vettori's 5.82. (Also Read: Bangalore keen to improve position with win over Punjab)

In seven games thus far, Zaheer has finished his quota of four overs on all occasions, but has been too expensive.

There is an opinion among the local cricket community that Zaheer hasn't given his 100 per cent probably due to fatigue.

However, Vettori rebutted the charges, and said that Zaheer would remain his 'go-to man' during the competition.

Asked if he was contemplating resting Zaheer for Friday's game against Kings XI Punjab, Vettori said: "I don't think so. He might have been expensive, but his bowling has been crucial in our last two wins, especially in the game against Delhi.

"He took the important wicket of (David) Warner. And during the win against Pune, he got the crucial wicket of Yuvraj (Singh). He bowls during the hardest times the start of the innings and the death overs. Hence, there are more chances that he will go for runs. But, I still look to him every time I want a wicket. That won't change for the rest of the IPL."

The hosts go into the contest on the back of three consecutive wins, and look to be in a good position to seal a spot in the play-offs. However, Kings XI Punjab are on the opposite end of the spectrum, lying low at ninth place in the points table, and that's the reason Vettori is wary of of Punjab, who are in a must-win scenario.

"They (Punjab) have an explosive top five batting line-up with (Paul) Valthaty, (Adam) Gilchrist, (Dinesh) Karthik, (David) Hussey and (Shaun) Marsh and we are wary of that," he said.

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