Patience has paid for Zaheer Khan. Out of the national side for almost a year, the veteran seamer worked on his fitness, played domestic cricket and finally won a national recall when the selectors named the Test squad for the upcoming series against South Africa in December. In a team full of youngsters, Zaheer will be one of the few chips of the 'old' block. On Tuesday in Mumbai, Zaheer said: "I was expecting a comeback. When I asked myself whether I could make a comeback, the answer was yes. Hence prepared a strategy and worked accordingly." He really did.
Ever since playing his last Test match in December 2012 against England in Kolkata, 35-year-old Zaheer battled fitness and weight problems. With younger and fitter players around, there would be no shortcuts and Zaheer was quick to realize this. Playing for India A and then for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy helped Zaheer find his rhythm. "I knew comeback would be a slow process. Didn't want to rush it. I was mentally confident and wanted to physically get there. The Hubli outing (against West Indies A) helped me," said Zaheer. (Read: Zaheer Khan's presence will help me grow as a bowler, says Umesh Yadav)