Zaheer raring to make a comeback

After an injury-ridden season fast bowler Zaheer Khan is keen to get back into the national team.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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After an injury-ridden season which saw him miss some of the golden moments of Indian cricket, fast bowler Zaheer Khan is keen to get back into the national team and don the mantle of pace spearhead. After a successful World Cup in South Africa in early 2003, it has been all downhill for the Baroda pace man who made a sensational debut in the ICC Knock-out Championships in Kenya two years back. Instead of taking over from the retiring Javagal Srinath as the team's leading strike bowler, the 24-year-old Zaheer has seen his budding career being wrecked by a series of injuries to his back and hamstring. Watching from sidelines As it were, the man touted as the future of Indian pace attack could only watch from the sidelines his team register its first Test victory on Australian soil in 23 years in Adelaide last season. And he was not even there when India claimed its first series win in Pakistan early this year, returning home midway through the series. But after a tough fitness programme in the off season, Zaheer, with 82 wickets from 29 Tests and 125 one-day international scalps under his belt, is confident of making a successful comeback into the Indian team. "My current fitness is fine. I think I need to bowl more and more. I need some more bowling practice, which I have been doing in the nets now," he said. The young speedster said he had not analysed the causes for injuries he suffered so far, but added "I am analysing how to get out of injuries". Career achievements Asked to share his perception on his career achievements, Zaheer remarked, "I think I have done well at this level, but there is lot more to do". On his training schedule, he said he was working on attaining rhythm in bowling. He, however, disagreed that of late he had cut down on his pace to concentrate on line and length. "I have not cut the pace. Any bowler wants to bowl line and length consistently but that does not mean I have cut down on the pace." Match practice On his short stint with Surrey, England, where he played a one-dayer and a four-day match, Zaheer said it was just a contract for three games as Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq had pulled out due to injuries. Since he needed some match practice, Zaheer said he accepted the offer but one match was not enough. "I thought it was not the proper time to play a four-day match and decided to pull off." He, however said his visit to England was not aimed at just playing matches but to get some training and added when he got a call from Surrey, he accepted it thinking that it would be beneficial to him. Zaheer said he was elated at getting tips from legendary cricketer Kapil Dev. "It is useful to get tips from an international bowler. Definitely, it will help me." Kapil, the team's bowling consultant, helped the pace bowlers out in the camp. (PTI)