Zaheer Khan © IANS
Zaheer Khan did well for Delhi Daredevils recently © IANS

The eighth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) witnessed some of the veteran Indian cricketers showing there is still a lot left in them. Let us delve into the topic of whether the likes of Zaheer Khan can still make it to the national side. IPL 2015: The CricketCountry XI of the tournament

It was another dreadful season for Delhi Daredevils (DD) as, although they managed to get rid of the curse of finishing at the bottom of IPL Points Table. They fought really well throughout but finished at the seventh spot. IPL 2015 Leading fielders: List of Best fielders in IPL 8

DD came up with some exciting performance from a few of their players, especially uncapped Indian, Shreyas Iyer, who was the highest run-scorer ftom their side. In the bowling, it was South Africa’s Imran Tahir, who stole the show. However, there were a couple of Indians who also impressed, and among them were Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra.

With Zaheer coming back into the frame once again, looking fitter and determined, the speculations started making rounds if the Indian selectors will still give him a chance. IPL 2015 Highest wicket-taker: List of best bowlers in IPL 8

Remember 2000, when Zaheer broke into the India side, and immediately made headlines by yorking Steve Waugh at his prime? At that point it seemed India had found the successor to Javagal Srinath. He made his Test debut later that year, and when Sourav Ganguly got him to bowl the first over midway through ICC Cricket World Cup 2003, the change was more than symbolic.

Hois golden touch continued in Australia, where he claimed a fifer at The Gabba before limping out with an injury. Thereafter he lost his way somewhat, and it was not until the stint with Worcestershire in 2006 that his career was back on track again. IPL 2015 Highest run-scorer: List of best batsmen in IPL 8

He was back to his best during India’s tour of England in 2007, claiming 18 wickets from three Tests at 20.33, spearheading the Indian attack to a historic series victory on English soil. When Ishant Sharma arrived on the scenario, Zaheer mentored him to get the best out of him in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008-09.

By the time Australia toured India again, in 2010-11, he was back at his best, adding the famous “knuckle ball” to his repertoire. It was the same ball with which he got Michael Hussey in World Cup 2011 quarter-final before pulling off a nigh-impossible tie against England. He was one of the key factors in India lifting the Cup after 28 years. IPL 2015 Most 6s and 4s: List of most dangerous batsmen in IPL 8

Then it all went horribly wrong: Zaheer hobbled out at Lord’s with a hamstring injury. He had had removed both openers by then, for the cost of 18. He never played again that series. He never recovered, and by the time England toured India in 2012-13 it seemed he was on his way out.

Since then he has seldom fired during his sporadic appearances in Test cricket. His last Test series was back in 2013-14 in New Zealand, where his seven wickets came at a below-par 42.44. IPL 2015 most dismissals by wicketkeeper: List of best wicketkeeper in IPL 8

However, following his decent comeback in the recently concluded IPL, Zaheer has been tipped of a one final chance to make a comeback to the Indian side. A number of injuries has kept him in and out of the sport quite often, but he will probably eye this one last comeabck. The latest domestic season too, was marred by injuries and he hardly played any game for Mumbai this season.

The decent comeback he made for DD this season might look promising, but it may prove to be just a flash in the pan and not enough to prove to the selectors of him being worthy in the Indian squad in any format of the game. With age taking a toll, he has little time to prove himself worthy enough of making it back to the Indian side. With the present young Indian side reflecting a promising line-up, the competition is surely going to be really tough for the veteran Zaheer to prove himself as a powerhouse of Indian pace attack that he once used to be.

However, if he has to make a comeback to the side, the limited-overs format will suit him the most, given his fitness level. In the longer version, unfortunately, time has probably run out for him. Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015: Complete coverage