Zaheer Khan – Will the legacy return?
Once touted as the spearhead of the Indian cricket team, Zaheer Khan’s prolonged absence from international cricket has raised questions about his cricketing future.
‘Zak’ has had his share of fame since his arrival at the big stage. His ability to swing the new ball and reverse the old earned him comparisons with the Pakistani great Wasim Akram. Soon, Zaheer became an integral part of India’s bowling attack, leading from the front by picking timely and crucial wickets.
However, Zaheer’s progress has been regularly hampered by career-threatening injuries that have taken a huge toll on his fitness. Hamstrings, nerve twitches, niggles, all became frequent hurdles, eventually reflecting in his performances on the field and costing him a place in the national side. After struggling in the Kolkata Test against England in late 2012, Zaheer was finally dropped owing to bad form. He did not have a good IPL season either, playing just 2 games but picking up 5 wickets in the 2013 edition.
When the news of his 6-week long rigorous training in France broke, it was an indication that the 34-year old wasn’t going down without a fight and regaining full fitness was just a matter of time. Zaheer Khan followed it up with another 3-week training session with Gary Kirsten in Cape Town, where he aimed to improve his fielding and bowling skills before he starts afresh. It sent out a message to his fans and critics, that there is still a lot of cricket left in him and that it isn't time to count him out yet.
It is difficult to imagine India’s bowling line-up without Zaheer, especially in Tests where experience matters a lot. However, if he aims to return to international cricket, he must prove his fitness and form in the upcoming domestic season, starting with the four-day games for India A against West Indies A.
Here’s wishing zippy Zak all the very best!
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