India news October 4, 2011

Zaheer's recovery slow but positive

ESPNcricinfo staff
31

Zaheer Khan, the India fast bowler, has said his recovery from ankle surgery has been slow but positive so far, and that he has not set a timeframe for his return to international cricket.

"The first phase of my rehab programme went off pretty well," Zaheer told the media after receiving India's Arjuna Award from the country's sports minister in New Delhi on Monday. "I have started with the second phase of my rehab. I will soon be going to the National Cricket Academy. My progress has been slow but positive.

"To start bowling, I have to get back the full strength in my ankle. Then I might play a few club matches or first-class matches. I am taking one day at a time and not setting any targets."

Zaheer was originally diagnosed with a hamstring injury during India's first Test against England at Lord's in July this year, but was later ruled out of the remainder of the series with a right ankle impingement that required surgery followed by a 14-16 week period of rehabilitation. When asked whether he was eyeing India's tour of Australia later this year as a target for his return, Zaheer said he was simply taking it day by day.

"I have not decided on any date but I will be back very soon. It's frustrating not to play at the highest level. But you can only control [only] the 'controllables' and be patient."

Commenting on the India team for the home one-day series against England, Zaheer said he expects the dropped Harbhajan Singh to fight his way back into the squad. "Harbhajan has produced great performances for the country. I am sure that he will be back soon, as he is too good a player to be left out. He has a lot of fire in him and he is a strong character.

India's bowling attack struggled in England without Zaheer's leadership and ability, and he said knowing how much the team needs him spurs him on to perform better. "It always acts as a motivation when your team needs you. I don't think the over-dependence on me adds to any pressure, rather it feels good to go to sleep with this kind of expectation. Hopefully, I will be back soon to play that role again."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh28 on October 7, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Here is a pace bowling chart someone entered on internet of Indian cricket, this seems to be before Kapil Dev era:-

    I was a hard core cricket fan and would never missed a single delivery, I am watching regular cricket since 1986, and here are the mileage of the indian bowlers I notices,

    1, J Srinath - 156Kmph (99, Africa tour) 2, A Nehra - 149 Kmph (2003 World cup) 3, S Sreesanth - 149 Kmph (Kuwalmpur tri series 2006) 4, RP Singh - 147 Kmph ( Recent Aus series) 5, A Agarkar - 146 Kmph (when he made his debut around 2001-2002) 6, Z Khan - 146 Kmph ( 2003 world cup) 7, A Bhandari - 145 Kmph (2004 Aus tour-this guy was really good strong bowler with good action in his early days, but unfortunate one) 8, VRV Singh - 145 Kmph (2006 Africa tour) 9, Munaf Patel - 143 Kmph (early 2006) 10, L Balaji - 140 Kmph (2004 Pakistan tour)

  • Naresh28 on October 7, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    In spin dept and batting dept we have plenty of talent. Its the pace department that is never looked into. I agree with Nampally that BCCI has the sole responsibilty to invest money in this facet. They do not. I was looking at the wicket stats of Varun - not much there - he has not matured from domestic spells. Yadav looks better. Sreenath Arvind has been poor. Tyagi faded from the radar for some reason. Nehra is also injury prone but a great ODI bowler. To me it looks like two definite vacancies exist in Indian cricket team - Left and Right pace bolwers.

  • SVicious on October 7, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Great opportunity to bring Irfan back and also to give Lakshmipathy Balaji a go. Zak should now just retire - Just go out on top. WC has been won. Nothing more left to prove. Its time for him to just move on!!!

  • RajuallenEmanuel on October 5, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Guys, I think al ve forgoten another left-arm swing bowler from Zak's Local Team Baroda. he played a crucial part in India's famous win at perth test with scores of 28 and 46 and five wickets to claim the Man-of-the-Match award, from wer India's Test Cricket was Taken 2 Next level. His name is Irfan Khan Pathan. Watch out for him at challenger's trophy. He is the perfect fast-medium bowler who wil be more than useful wit bat. If the ball swings he is a deadly bowler to deal with. The ball he bowled to sachin 2 bold him in the recent IPL was amazing which clearly shows that he stil ve lot of ability 2 swing the ball. Indian selectors should give him a fair amount of chance 2 make him a complete all-rounder Which india desperately needs.

  • Nampally on October 5, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    @Naresh28: Sehwag & Zaheer are great Cricketers who served India very well with their outstanding contributions. But when you ask the question who will replace them, it looks as tough these guys are" immortal"!. My friend, everyone is replaceable, even the legends, never mind Sehwag & Zaheer.Remember, Not long back these 2 were dropped from the Indian side for their poor performance.They had to fight their way back.Right now there are about 4 opening batsmen in Rahane, P.Patel,Mukund, Dhawan apart from Gambhir who can do a fairly good job, with some experience, opening the innings. As for the opening bowlers Jadev, Aaron, Tyagi and Aaravind are all youngsters with good future.It is left up to the Indian Selectors to back them up thru' intensive training/coaching and physical fitness program. Gavaskar was the greatest opening bat - Nissar & Amar singh the finest pace combo.Sehwag & Tendulkar replaced Gavaskar & say Srinath & Zaheer replaced Nissar & Amar- right? So be +ve& hopeful.

  • Naresh28 on October 5, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    More than just having Zaks, India need Ishant as well. Other teams have good packs bowling in tandem. If only one good bowler it adds to the pressure on the good bowler. As for NUUR he should look at Zaks stats before commenting. Very few world class pace bowlers have a hop before delivery release. Zaks has this skill, only it puts more pressure on his ankles. I feel the bowling load is now catching up with Zaks. Also he is not young any more.

  • Naresh28 on October 5, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    Question: Which batsman in India could replace Virendra Shewag? Which bowler in India could replace Zaheer Khan?

    Qualities - Hand/eye corordination, bat speed, timing, really explosive batsman Left armer bowler, great inswinger. hop before delivery,great angles,thinking bowler

  • zenboomerang on October 5, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    @ Nampally

    Tendulkar's specialist said it would be up to 6 weeks to recover - 5 September to 17 October give or take a few days. England One Day Series - 14th to 25th October... not much time to get out and practice and get fitness levels back up to required level - 8 days for the last game... I can't wait for him to play in Adelaide 'live' and hope he gets in 100th 100 in Don Bradman's backyard. I follow Australia, but really hope Satchin and the team perform well... I expect India to bounce back from its England losses - Aus V Ind - 2/1/1

    "Zaheer's hamstring injury ended up as ankle injury?" When you have an injury in one part of your leg, loads get transferred to other regions like the achilles tendon, ankle and knee.

    Yuvraj fractured his index finger. Tim Paines expected 4 week recovery time for his fractured right index finger. 5 weeks later gets surgery in late September. All up, probably 3 to 4 months off the field...

  • on October 5, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    @davidpk i think ure from Eng(think i have read your posts before)....cant agree more with you..my apprehension was a 3-0 with a draw in Sydney..thnx for your respect to our batting stalwarts...unfortunately that is what Indian team is at the moment... a couple of greats and a couple of very good batsmen....i desperately wish Aus summer would be better for India but to be honest i dont see any realistic chance for that to happen..with this CL and all that crap soon after the nightmare tour to Eng...

  • Nampally on October 4, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    While the report on Zaheer's injury is finally released albeit by ZAK himself, there is no report on the other injured players.Sehwag had a shoulder injury & allowed to play in a couple of tests in England with no one establishing whether his shoulder had healed or not. Fractures take 6 weeks to heal, Yuvraj's fracture was in July - Tendulkar's toe was injured in August - why are the unfit nearly 8 weeks later?How did Zaheer's hamstring injury ended up as ankle injury? Why is Ishant Sharma allowed to postpone his ankle surgery & hoping a place for the Aussie tour.Kumar was injured playing"Fun soccer" - Ban this for the cricketers. BCCI needs to have an established Fitness check program, Cause,cure & monitoring of all contracted playei njuries + up to date medical status on all the injured players.BCCI made a profit of $39 Million for the year and if they cannot do these simple mandatory jobs, then the role of BCCI should be questioned & redefined.Lax BCCI attitude is hurting Cricket

  • Naresh28 on October 7, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Here is a pace bowling chart someone entered on internet of Indian cricket, this seems to be before Kapil Dev era:-

    I was a hard core cricket fan and would never missed a single delivery, I am watching regular cricket since 1986, and here are the mileage of the indian bowlers I notices,

    1, J Srinath - 156Kmph (99, Africa tour) 2, A Nehra - 149 Kmph (2003 World cup) 3, S Sreesanth - 149 Kmph (Kuwalmpur tri series 2006) 4, RP Singh - 147 Kmph ( Recent Aus series) 5, A Agarkar - 146 Kmph (when he made his debut around 2001-2002) 6, Z Khan - 146 Kmph ( 2003 world cup) 7, A Bhandari - 145 Kmph (2004 Aus tour-this guy was really good strong bowler with good action in his early days, but unfortunate one) 8, VRV Singh - 145 Kmph (2006 Africa tour) 9, Munaf Patel - 143 Kmph (early 2006) 10, L Balaji - 140 Kmph (2004 Pakistan tour)

  • Naresh28 on October 7, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    In spin dept and batting dept we have plenty of talent. Its the pace department that is never looked into. I agree with Nampally that BCCI has the sole responsibilty to invest money in this facet. They do not. I was looking at the wicket stats of Varun - not much there - he has not matured from domestic spells. Yadav looks better. Sreenath Arvind has been poor. Tyagi faded from the radar for some reason. Nehra is also injury prone but a great ODI bowler. To me it looks like two definite vacancies exist in Indian cricket team - Left and Right pace bolwers.

  • SVicious on October 7, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Great opportunity to bring Irfan back and also to give Lakshmipathy Balaji a go. Zak should now just retire - Just go out on top. WC has been won. Nothing more left to prove. Its time for him to just move on!!!

  • RajuallenEmanuel on October 5, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Guys, I think al ve forgoten another left-arm swing bowler from Zak's Local Team Baroda. he played a crucial part in India's famous win at perth test with scores of 28 and 46 and five wickets to claim the Man-of-the-Match award, from wer India's Test Cricket was Taken 2 Next level. His name is Irfan Khan Pathan. Watch out for him at challenger's trophy. He is the perfect fast-medium bowler who wil be more than useful wit bat. If the ball swings he is a deadly bowler to deal with. The ball he bowled to sachin 2 bold him in the recent IPL was amazing which clearly shows that he stil ve lot of ability 2 swing the ball. Indian selectors should give him a fair amount of chance 2 make him a complete all-rounder Which india desperately needs.

  • Nampally on October 5, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    @Naresh28: Sehwag & Zaheer are great Cricketers who served India very well with their outstanding contributions. But when you ask the question who will replace them, it looks as tough these guys are" immortal"!. My friend, everyone is replaceable, even the legends, never mind Sehwag & Zaheer.Remember, Not long back these 2 were dropped from the Indian side for their poor performance.They had to fight their way back.Right now there are about 4 opening batsmen in Rahane, P.Patel,Mukund, Dhawan apart from Gambhir who can do a fairly good job, with some experience, opening the innings. As for the opening bowlers Jadev, Aaron, Tyagi and Aaravind are all youngsters with good future.It is left up to the Indian Selectors to back them up thru' intensive training/coaching and physical fitness program. Gavaskar was the greatest opening bat - Nissar & Amar singh the finest pace combo.Sehwag & Tendulkar replaced Gavaskar & say Srinath & Zaheer replaced Nissar & Amar- right? So be +ve& hopeful.

  • Naresh28 on October 5, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    More than just having Zaks, India need Ishant as well. Other teams have good packs bowling in tandem. If only one good bowler it adds to the pressure on the good bowler. As for NUUR he should look at Zaks stats before commenting. Very few world class pace bowlers have a hop before delivery release. Zaks has this skill, only it puts more pressure on his ankles. I feel the bowling load is now catching up with Zaks. Also he is not young any more.

  • Naresh28 on October 5, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    Question: Which batsman in India could replace Virendra Shewag? Which bowler in India could replace Zaheer Khan?

    Qualities - Hand/eye corordination, bat speed, timing, really explosive batsman Left armer bowler, great inswinger. hop before delivery,great angles,thinking bowler

  • zenboomerang on October 5, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    @ Nampally

    Tendulkar's specialist said it would be up to 6 weeks to recover - 5 September to 17 October give or take a few days. England One Day Series - 14th to 25th October... not much time to get out and practice and get fitness levels back up to required level - 8 days for the last game... I can't wait for him to play in Adelaide 'live' and hope he gets in 100th 100 in Don Bradman's backyard. I follow Australia, but really hope Satchin and the team perform well... I expect India to bounce back from its England losses - Aus V Ind - 2/1/1

    "Zaheer's hamstring injury ended up as ankle injury?" When you have an injury in one part of your leg, loads get transferred to other regions like the achilles tendon, ankle and knee.

    Yuvraj fractured his index finger. Tim Paines expected 4 week recovery time for his fractured right index finger. 5 weeks later gets surgery in late September. All up, probably 3 to 4 months off the field...

  • on October 5, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    @davidpk i think ure from Eng(think i have read your posts before)....cant agree more with you..my apprehension was a 3-0 with a draw in Sydney..thnx for your respect to our batting stalwarts...unfortunately that is what Indian team is at the moment... a couple of greats and a couple of very good batsmen....i desperately wish Aus summer would be better for India but to be honest i dont see any realistic chance for that to happen..with this CL and all that crap soon after the nightmare tour to Eng...

  • Nampally on October 4, 2011, 18:51 GMT

    While the report on Zaheer's injury is finally released albeit by ZAK himself, there is no report on the other injured players.Sehwag had a shoulder injury & allowed to play in a couple of tests in England with no one establishing whether his shoulder had healed or not. Fractures take 6 weeks to heal, Yuvraj's fracture was in July - Tendulkar's toe was injured in August - why are the unfit nearly 8 weeks later?How did Zaheer's hamstring injury ended up as ankle injury? Why is Ishant Sharma allowed to postpone his ankle surgery & hoping a place for the Aussie tour.Kumar was injured playing"Fun soccer" - Ban this for the cricketers. BCCI needs to have an established Fitness check program, Cause,cure & monitoring of all contracted playei njuries + up to date medical status on all the injured players.BCCI made a profit of $39 Million for the year and if they cannot do these simple mandatory jobs, then the role of BCCI should be questioned & redefined.Lax BCCI attitude is hurting Cricket

  • hhillbumper on October 4, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    Time to put him out to pasture.The best Indian pacer I ever saw was Javagal Srinath.I have never seen a bowler have less luck than against England on the 96 tour. Funny how good the bowlers get when they have been through county cricket.

  • spence1324 on October 4, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    To be honest he should look to lose some weight,because if i had seem him walking down a street i would not have thought that he played international sport,excess weight puts more force on joints,muscles and ankles.

  • landl47 on October 4, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    Happy Birthday, Zak- 33 on October 7th. Let's face it, even if he recovers fully, he hasn't got much longer as a top level bowler. The fact that his recovery is 'slow' means that he's not bouncing back the way a younger player might. Maybe he's got a year or so, but the chances are he won't be the force he was. India has to look for his replacement and so far no-one has looked the part.

  • NairUSA on October 4, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    Best of luck Zaheer. I am sure Zak will be back with his golden arm. However, Team India should start introducing young fast bowlers who can train under him. We cannot expect Zak to last forever with his workload.

  • on October 4, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    He will recover from injury before first game of next IPL. And get back to bed after IPL. This Team India is IPL servant and completely unfit and useless to play International Cricket or Test Cricket. IPL has taken betting to highest level. IPL is not a Cricketing event it is a worst commerical event. Team India and BCCI is completely focussed on IPL. Because of IPL, Team India is losing skill, inspiration, motivation and fitness to play Test Cricket. These curators, coaches and BCCI officials are working for IPL growth rather than Cricket growth. Until IPL is thrashed, Team India is not going to perform well in other tournaments. IPL is completely meaningless and obsolete Tournament. Test, ODI & T20 Cricket is great to watch between Countries unlike IPL Teams which look like clubs. Test Cricket is ultimate to watch on sportive pitches. But IPL is making these pitches Lifeless.

  • eZoha on October 4, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    He will surely recover before the next IPL...

  • Nampally on October 4, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Zaheer was a fine bowler during the past 3 years and always delivered for India. But his woes with injuries are too serious for him to return to International cricket.I personally think his days at test class cricket are over. Zaheer mentioned that Harbhajan will fight his way back. That will be difficult unless he remodels his bowling on different lines and develops new tricks. It would be best in the interest of India if both Zaheer & Harbhajan announce their retirement.India's bowling struggled in England because the right replacements were not sent.Umesh Jadev, Aaron,Mandeep, Rahul Sharma & Ojha were kept hidden instead of reinforcing the team. These are the future Indian bowlers and the Selectors need to focus on young, skilled and talented players rather than keep flogging the tired old bodies. The same applies in batting.There is wealth of Funds & Talent in Indian cricket both in bowling, WK & batting - enough to field separate teams for Tests, ODI & T-20.Use it skillfully & WIN

  • bumsonseats on October 4, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    ok if his injury heels .but it was his belly that was the problem. india will need him in oz. because they were trounced in england. and normally australia is the hardest tour. but as they these days, are moderate they will still beat india i would think 2 - 0 sounds about right. with the indian batting scoring well to get a couple of draws. dpk

  • on October 4, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    @Raghav Karthik --Zak to lead the pace attack?..could you name the other 'pacers' in the 'attack'..i have been living in India for 31 years and following cricket seriously for 15 odd years,but havent seen one representing India till now.would love to have an answer for Harris (forget Dale or even Johnson).Thanks in advance!!!

  • Raki99 on October 4, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    He is done start building the team again.

  • on October 4, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    We need Zaheer back for Australia to lead our attack.Hope he recovers soon.

  • on October 4, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    He doesn't even bowl @ 150+ km/h like Akhtar... Why does he keep getting injured?? The BCCi surely have to try and address this issue.

  • indyarox on October 4, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    He really needs to get 100% fit.. A fully fit Zaheer has the ability to bowl against any batsman on any kind of track - green, bouncy, dry or otherwise.

    Pls get fit soon. India really needs you.

  • chinnu_rocking231 on October 4, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    Zak we need you badly thats for sure.but one thing you should fully fit before announcing your return next tym we dont want you to go in b/w a series at least not till we find another bowler of half of your caliber.Dad said on fst day of test thats its diff to c zak in that series.so pls make slow and steady progress we need you very badly for Aus series to wreck aussie middle order

  • on October 4, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    he seems disappointed he could not recover in time for CLT20 (like his friend B Bhajji..)even if he recovers/gets fit he wont play more than 2 matches down under..i just feel for Indians since there seems to be so much support for him here from the posters...Ofcourse he will be fit for IPL (2k12)..another farce which is BY ,OF and FOR the Indian cricket players..take rest Zak...

  • Santhosh-indian on October 4, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    It will be good to see zaheer against Aussies.. India needs him very badly to win the series. Get well soon spear head.

  • on October 4, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Hope u recover soon as u have been an excellent bowler and a good mentor for the other bowlers. Congrats on winning Arjun award

  • palla.avinash on October 4, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    undoubtfully india's best pace and swing bowler ever born,india need him desperately even the youngsters need his backing,i dont see even dhoni and simmons coaching youngsters as zaheer did.he is a unseen legend in india's victories.

  • kas_kas on October 4, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    he is definatly being missed and so do we all...hope he recovers completly

  • Nuur on October 4, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    He is a weakling. He is mentally injury prone that is why he gets injured so much. He is just making excuses for his slow recovery, he wont ever get fit. I mean a bowler who bowls at 125 Ks sits out half of his career is ridiculous. It shows that there is something wrong with his psychological state more than the body.

  • indianzen on October 4, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    The patience, the willingness to study and work things out on every batsmen and then preying on him is the key for a test bowler and its 200% with Zaheer and no wonder Team needs him soooooooooo much...

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  • indianzen on October 4, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    The patience, the willingness to study and work things out on every batsmen and then preying on him is the key for a test bowler and its 200% with Zaheer and no wonder Team needs him soooooooooo much...

  • Nuur on October 4, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    He is a weakling. He is mentally injury prone that is why he gets injured so much. He is just making excuses for his slow recovery, he wont ever get fit. I mean a bowler who bowls at 125 Ks sits out half of his career is ridiculous. It shows that there is something wrong with his psychological state more than the body.

  • kas_kas on October 4, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    he is definatly being missed and so do we all...hope he recovers completly

  • palla.avinash on October 4, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    undoubtfully india's best pace and swing bowler ever born,india need him desperately even the youngsters need his backing,i dont see even dhoni and simmons coaching youngsters as zaheer did.he is a unseen legend in india's victories.

  • on October 4, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Hope u recover soon as u have been an excellent bowler and a good mentor for the other bowlers. Congrats on winning Arjun award

  • Santhosh-indian on October 4, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    It will be good to see zaheer against Aussies.. India needs him very badly to win the series. Get well soon spear head.

  • on October 4, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    he seems disappointed he could not recover in time for CLT20 (like his friend B Bhajji..)even if he recovers/gets fit he wont play more than 2 matches down under..i just feel for Indians since there seems to be so much support for him here from the posters...Ofcourse he will be fit for IPL (2k12)..another farce which is BY ,OF and FOR the Indian cricket players..take rest Zak...

  • chinnu_rocking231 on October 4, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    Zak we need you badly thats for sure.but one thing you should fully fit before announcing your return next tym we dont want you to go in b/w a series at least not till we find another bowler of half of your caliber.Dad said on fst day of test thats its diff to c zak in that series.so pls make slow and steady progress we need you very badly for Aus series to wreck aussie middle order

  • indyarox on October 4, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    He really needs to get 100% fit.. A fully fit Zaheer has the ability to bowl against any batsman on any kind of track - green, bouncy, dry or otherwise.

    Pls get fit soon. India really needs you.

  • on October 4, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    He doesn't even bowl @ 150+ km/h like Akhtar... Why does he keep getting injured?? The BCCi surely have to try and address this issue.