Fast bowling unnatural to Indians: Zaheer Khan

Zaheer recommended young players to play in county cricket in off season as he feels it helps to maintain match fitness AFP

By CricketCountry Staff

Mumbai: Oct 9, 2011

India s pace spearhead Zaheer Khan feels that the art of fast bowling is not innate in Indian culture and that they need to work hard at it to be successful at the highest level.

Zaheer said,” It’s not a natural thing. Indian bodies are not designed to bowl fast but that said, it’s not very different from bowling outside India. Basically you have to spend a lot of time understanding yourself, your art, and then find out what works for you and what doesn’t. It also involves a lot of hard work.”

He also feels there is no dearth of fast bowling talent in Indian cricket. He said, “We’ve got plenty of talent coming. We’ve produced good bowlers in the past and I see a lot of youngsters coming, which is promising. You see someone like Ishant (Sharma), who came in so early, and he’s now taking responsibility, that’s great.”

Zaheer feels that the pressure of international cricket has nothing to do with emerging fast bowlers in the country fading away sooner from the international scene. “I don’t think it’s the pressure of international cricket. It’s about trying to adapt to the international level, where the room for error is less. You can’t always do at the international level what you do at domestic level,” said Zaheer.” You need to understand your bowling style and work on fitness that much more. The bottom line is as long you are able to produce results, it is fine. I also dropped pace, so basically it’s important to know what works for you at the international level and put that into practice,” he added.

Zaheer recommended young players to play in county cricket in off season to maintain match fitness. He was quoted in Times of India as saying,” The bottom line is match practice. Experience is something which is valued and you gain that by playing matches. No matter how hard you try at the nets, the match scenario is completely different. As for county cricket, their season is the off season in India, that’s why I would recommend it, but again the bottom line is more matches, wherever you play.”

The southpaw said he never feels pressure of being the leader of fast bowling pack and instead enjoys bowling at international level. “I enjoy playing at the highest level. That’s my biggest motivation. The additional responsibility that I have only makes me more motivated to think not just about my game only but also the other bowlers. I like to give them the right advice, talk about what works at the highest level, how you can plan to get batsmen out. There are various components to this which I share with my colleagues,” said Zaheer.

While recovering from groin injury in England, Zaheer refused to put a deadline for making a comeback into the Indian team. He said,” It’s been good. I had an ankle surgery and all I can say at this point is that things are looking good. Progress has been slow but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. I’m also not putting a timeline to my return. I did bowl from two steps today, and it felt really good.”