IPL 2013: Zaheer Khan all set for comeback

Zaheer Khan will probably be seen in action against Mumbai Indians on April 2 clash at Bangalore © PTI

Bangalore: Apr 3, 2013
Indian bowling star Zaheer Khan, who plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, believes the more he bowls the better he feels.
“When I bowl after rehab, my body always adapts to it. Once I increase my bowling load, I feel better. I’m sure this time it will be the same as well,” Zaheer was quoted as saying DNA.
“I’ve always endorsed the fact that the more I play, the better I get. When I’m bowling well, I like to play maximum number of matches. When you are in good rhythm, you must keep it going because injuries are something you can’t avoid. At some stage you are going to get injured. And at that time you do miss cricket. That’s why whenever I’m playing, you will not see me miss many games.”
Speaking about his rehab, Zaheer said, “My training is on in full swing. All I can say is that I’m on track and happy to be back on the field.”
“I missed a very crucial part of the season. But those are things not under my control. In terms of workload, in the IPL it will only be four overs per match. So the stress on my body will be lesser compared to the demands in ODIs, or Test matches where you have to bowl approximately 20 overs a day.”
Zaheer has been playing international cricket for 12 years now.
“Whatever situations have been thrown at me, I’ve reacted to them very well. Looking back, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve come a long way. Being a professional cricketer, you always have your good and bad days. And I definitely had more good days.”
Zaheer feels as the leader to spearhead the young bowling attack of India, he has to chalk out a new strategy if he isn’t able to deliver at times.
“Some credit has to go to the England batters. They were playing well and we missed a few chances at crucial times. Having said that, I’m not the sort of person who makes excuses. I’m the leader of the pack and have that additional responsibility. The fact of the matter is that I couldn’t deliver. If that means I must chalk out a new strategy, go back to the basics and resolve a few things, which could be related to my performance, then I’m prepared to do that.”
When asked whether he has set any time when he would want to retire, Zaheer said, “Not really, I never set numbers as my target. The fact is that I really enjoy bowling and that’s my priority. I’m enjoying it still. Going out and bowling gives me a different kind of a high. In terms of fitness, I need to chalk out a proper strategy to go ahead. I’ve to work hard on my fitness and do everything possible to regain my place in the Indian team.”
“For me, the priority is to sort my body out. If at any stage I feel that my body is not coping with the workload and I need to manage it some way, I’ll review where I stand.”
The Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler believes that certain things are learnt with experience and there is no age for learning.
“It’s got nothing to do with you being a spinner or a fast bowler. Certain things come with experience. For anyone, the first three to four years in international cricket is a learning phase. The learning never stops irrespective of whether you have played for five years or 12. It should never stop. The day you think you have achieved it all, your graph will go down. Staying focussed and adding bits and pieces to your armoury are always handy.”
Earlier, Indian bowling coach Joe Dawes said that Zaheer have the ‘best wrist’ in international cricket. Legendary Pakistani all-rounder Wasim Akram admitted that it took him years to get the right wrist position.
“I also took a long time to figure it out (laughs). I would say I got it right around 2006, after six-seven years of international cricket. That’s when I realised what my bowling style is and what exactly is required at this level. Over the years, I’ve learnt many things: how to manage myself better, what kind of training is working for me…basically knowing what my bowling and body require,” Zaheer said.
The 34-year-old had once stated that Indian bodies were not fit for fast bowling. However he says he was misquoted.
“I had said that human bodies, in general, are not meant for fast bowling. I never remarked that Indian bodies are not fit for it. I was misquoted there. If you look at it, you are running in a straight line, then you jump and there are plenty of forces going through you. You create momentum and there is a lot of twisting and turning that your body is not designed for. You feel stress on the joints and the back because of all the rotation involved. That’s why you see every bowler, not just Indians, face injuries or deal with different niggles.”
Zaheer wasn’t surprised with India thrashing Australia 4-0 in the just concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“Not really. Our team is very much capable of achieving such kind of results. It was heartening to see the effort on the field and the kind of momentum we created. We didn’t give them a quarter throughout the series. As a team we were not up to the mark against England. Against Australia, that hunger was very much visible. We didn’t do well against England but we did the right learning. And we applied the learning very well against the Aussies.”
Speaking about bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the latest bowling star in the Indian line-up, Zaheer said, “He has a bright future. You can see he has got good control over his swing. You have got to give credit to him, the way he has improved. I remember a Ranji final against UP in Hyderabad. He had control over swing every then but lacked in pace. It’s evident that he has worked on that part. Now, his pace is up and the control is great. He is getting results for all the hard work he has put in.”