Zaheer Khan's international career may have ended, fears his coach and mentor Sudhir Naik after the left-arm spearhead was not included for the England Test series which commences from July.
Zaheer, who suffered a severe side strain during his Mumbai Indians versus Kings XI Punjab earlier this month, was ignored by the selectors for the five-match Test series against England. Zaheer is currently undergoing treatment in London and is expected to recover by mid-June.
"Although he would be fit for the Test series, the selectors would not like to take a risk with Zaheer's fitness. Their major concern would have been whether he could last for the full series. So, that is why they did not select him," Naik told mid-day.
Naik, who coached and guided Zaheer at the National Cricket Club, feels his ward may not play for India again. "I don't think the selectors will consider Zaheer again. It will be very, very difficult for Zaheer to make a comeback into the Indian team.
The only possibility is if the younger lot of pace bowlers selected fail miserably. Then, the selectors might consider Zaheer again. Otherwise, there is no chance," Naik said.
Zaheer, India's most experienced bowler with 311 wickets in 92 Tests, has suffered a spate of injuries in recent years. He only got a look in for the South Africa and New Zealand Test series after he proved his fitness in domestic matches.
Naik said Zaheer's dream of playing 100 Tests could remain unfulfilled. "His dream was to complete 100 Tests and then retire. But I guess now that will not happen. I was confident that he could achieve his goal when he returned to full fitness after nearly a one-year injury lay-off.
"But unfortunately, this injury (side strain) has practically ended his international career. There are only 25 per cent chances of him making a comeback now," Naik signed off.