'By no means am I done' - Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan, the India fast bowler, has said he wants to continue playing for the next three to four years but hasn't set a timeline for his return from a calf injury he sustained during the Ranji Trophy. Zaheer missed the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy for Mumbai as a result and will also not play the Irani Cup starting on February 6; he hasn't played for India since being dropped for the Nagpur Test against England in December.
"I want to continue for another 3-4 years," Zaheer told Mirror. "By no means am I done. I still have that hunger. I just need to sort things out and make the right calls. I know that I definitely have three-four years and I will make sure I come back and come back strong. I want to prepare fully, in terms of bowling, fielding and fitness. I want to cover all angles now and use this time really wisely in preparing."
Zaheer hasn't resumed bowling yet, but said he has been running and expects things to speed up from there as he works with Ashish Kaushik, the physio at the National Cricket Academy. Zaheer said he was keen to play both Tests and ODIs. "Test matches have been my priority but I want to be there in ODIs as well. I definitely have to work more on my fitness which I'm ready to do."
India take on Australia in a four-match Test series starting on February 22. "I don't want to jump the gun," Zaheer said when asked if playing in the series was a realistic target. "The long-term picture is on my mind. I definitely have a lot of cricket left in me. I need to figure out things."
Zaheer had a poor 2012, picking up 15 wickets in eight Tests at a strike-rate of 98 balls per wicket. "Obviously, I wasn't expecting it [being dropped]. You have to take things in your stride. At the highest level you are just as good as your last game. If you look at it that way then, whether I am rested or dropped, you got to take it as a professional and move forward. That's what I have been doing. I went and played Ranji Trophy, which is the next best thing.
"I still have plenty of things to offer. That's my faith. I have had that kind of faith in my ability and that's what drives me to try and make this comeback."