India news November 6, 2011

'I'm a couple of weeks away from regaining fitness' - Zaheer

ESPNcricinfo staff
29

India fast bowler Zaheer Khan has said he is only a few weeks away from regaining full fitness, as he prepares for selection for the tour of Australia that starts next month.

India's premier strike bowler suffered a hamstring injury at the start of the Lord's Test in July, and was then diagnosed with a right ankle impingement that required surgery, forcing him to miss the entire tour. His absence was one of the reasons for India's poor tour of England, where they were whitewashed 4-0 in the Tests and failed to win any of the limited-overs games. Zaheer, who hasn't played for India since, has been training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

"I'm in a pretty good state of mind right now because I've learnt to handle things better. I feel I'm just a couple of weeks away from regaining full fitness," Zaheer told the Times of India." I only have to complete all the formalities of passing the fitness test. I am excited about playing a few first-class games. I have spent the last few weeks at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, was in rehab, worked on my fitness and now I feel good. I have started bowling in the nets. I have to keep going at it for another week or two and I'll be ready for a four-day match."

Zaheer was among several players who broke down in England and the team management and players were criticised for poor injury management and lack of preparation against a strong England Test side. Zaheer had skipped the West Indies tour that preceded the England trip to rest. He insisted, though, that he was fit for the England tour.

"Before I left for England, I don't think I was short of any preparation," Zaheer said. "In retrospect, I think I did the right thing by opting to go to England and again the right thing to opt out and go for surgery."

He also insisted that he wasn't hiding any injuries before the tour. "Ahead of the England series, for seven to eight months, I was playing with an inflammation, but that didn't hamper my performance," he said. "It is just unfortunate that the inflammation ruptured on the tour of England. But would that mean I was hiding my injury? No. I wouldn't say so."

He said the injury lay-off has only increased his hunger to get back into the team. "I think you need those insecurities to be around you. They help you be on your toes and make you battle-hungry. I am glad I don't feel all that secure or that I've created any kind of a zone for myself. In fact, I am looking forward to prove myself all over once again."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • atuljain1969 on November 9, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    India needs to blood young promising pacers like Varun , Umesh , Trivedi, Bhuvnesh , sangwan , deepak chahar carefully. Need is to identify the potential and give them proper schedule to look after their body properly.

    With the quantum of cricket being played these days there are bound to be injuries frequently. Board therefore should indentify such players and place them under the watchful eyes of coaches and physio hired.

    Another pacer who has catched my eye is RISHI DHWAN of Himachal Pradesh team. Last year he bowled wonderfuly in Ranji and this year too he has started well. He seems to a bowler in different mould and selectors must give a look to this player as early as possible. H.P is playing in Plate, and in a team game, often the consistent good performances get ignored. Request to give him a chance in a better known team

  • on November 8, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Unless India bloods replacements now they are going to find it very touch once the old batting guard retires and zaheer retires. A whole team will be basically new.

  • Naresh28 on November 8, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    ZAHEER is special. That hop before ball release is the reason he is difficult for batsman to face him. It is also the reason he gets injured - the strain is great on all parts of his body. If India had 4 good bowlers backing him up, he could be used properly.Finding another Zaheer will be tuff. Nehra fills that role in ODI's Umesh Yadav is a great find I never thought India had a bowler who could bowl an over with all balls 140+ Aaron needs to be blooded in good conditions to see what he can do. India should look at the right combo for Australia as far as the pacers are concerned.

  • on November 7, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Have been a fan of Zaheer for long time. I think he always get injured when hi upper body portion + bum area looks fatty. Even when England tour started I noticed this thing. I remember him telling once that this was the reason he got hamstring injury in Australia. He just need to manage that and he will never get injured that badly anytime soon. By the way India needs to produce another top class left arm fast bowler like Zaheer or bring an improved Irfan back. Nehra and RP might not ever get considered again. On the right hand bowling front I feel that Umesh Yadav is going to be successful in booking one place for himself always hereafter. I hope Varun Aaron could also make the same impact and he is quite similar to Umesh but I loved Umeh's attitude a lot plus this time I feel that Indian team management are handling him well.

  • crikbuff on November 7, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    Zaheer must prove his fitness by playing at least 2 Ranji trophy matches before being considered for the Australia tour.

  • on November 7, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    @wolf777, India would give up anything to have Aaron and Yadav turn into Zaheer Khans!

  • here2rock on November 7, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Let's hope he is not fit to go to Australia. India do not need him.

  • ABP235 on November 7, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    It is not a rocket science to predict that Zak will fall short again on the tough tour of Australia. The odds of breaking down will be very high indeed. We shoiuld rather stick to the young and fit bowlers and make them go all out against the Aussies, with persistence. Get the young bowlers bowling 140+ like Yadav, Aaron etc a good enough full series. If there is a time for bowling coach Eric Simmons to work on, its on these lads and now, else we can ask Simmons to find another employment. Along with Ishant and probably, Mithun too, India should be quite comfortable of its pacers. Testing them in Australia will be the best opportunity. And more importantly, India should rely on its strength - spin bowling - and get Ozha, Ashwin and Rahul Sharma a full series in Australia as well. We need to give 6 months to regain fitness and form for these 30+ guys (Zak, Bhajji etc).

  • rahulcricket007 on November 7, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    LET'S HOPE HE IS SAYING TRUE . WE DEFINITELY NEED HIM AGAINST AUSSIES ESPECIALLY FOR LET HANDERS LIKE HUSSEY , HUGHES .

  • on November 7, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    @hhillbumper really? you are joking. India won with 3 bowlers (nehra sucked and pathan debuted) in Adelaide flat pitch,AND without Zaheer at perth. really that was much stronger lineup than the one england beat. ZAHEER'S RECORD IN ENGLAND SPEAKS FOR ITSELF , ENGLAND FANS SHOULD KNOW THAT. THE DEPENDENCY ON HIM IS PATHETIC THOUGH .BTW. HE TOOK A 5-FER IN THE ONLY FULL TEST HE PLAYED IN AUS.(ACTUALLY BROKE DOWN IN ALL HIS 3 TESTS THERE- 2 AT MCG AND 1 AT GABBA) NEVER PLAYED AN ODI IN AUS.

    @Nampally when has current england team (post flintoff) or aus team played with 5 bowlers????? GET A REALITY CHECK. WATSON ,KALLIS HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING BOWLERS. ENGLAND AT BEST HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO PICK 5 BOWLERS.

  • atuljain1969 on November 9, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    India needs to blood young promising pacers like Varun , Umesh , Trivedi, Bhuvnesh , sangwan , deepak chahar carefully. Need is to identify the potential and give them proper schedule to look after their body properly.

    With the quantum of cricket being played these days there are bound to be injuries frequently. Board therefore should indentify such players and place them under the watchful eyes of coaches and physio hired.

    Another pacer who has catched my eye is RISHI DHWAN of Himachal Pradesh team. Last year he bowled wonderfuly in Ranji and this year too he has started well. He seems to a bowler in different mould and selectors must give a look to this player as early as possible. H.P is playing in Plate, and in a team game, often the consistent good performances get ignored. Request to give him a chance in a better known team

  • on November 8, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Unless India bloods replacements now they are going to find it very touch once the old batting guard retires and zaheer retires. A whole team will be basically new.

  • Naresh28 on November 8, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    ZAHEER is special. That hop before ball release is the reason he is difficult for batsman to face him. It is also the reason he gets injured - the strain is great on all parts of his body. If India had 4 good bowlers backing him up, he could be used properly.Finding another Zaheer will be tuff. Nehra fills that role in ODI's Umesh Yadav is a great find I never thought India had a bowler who could bowl an over with all balls 140+ Aaron needs to be blooded in good conditions to see what he can do. India should look at the right combo for Australia as far as the pacers are concerned.

  • on November 7, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Have been a fan of Zaheer for long time. I think he always get injured when hi upper body portion + bum area looks fatty. Even when England tour started I noticed this thing. I remember him telling once that this was the reason he got hamstring injury in Australia. He just need to manage that and he will never get injured that badly anytime soon. By the way India needs to produce another top class left arm fast bowler like Zaheer or bring an improved Irfan back. Nehra and RP might not ever get considered again. On the right hand bowling front I feel that Umesh Yadav is going to be successful in booking one place for himself always hereafter. I hope Varun Aaron could also make the same impact and he is quite similar to Umesh but I loved Umeh's attitude a lot plus this time I feel that Indian team management are handling him well.

  • crikbuff on November 7, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    Zaheer must prove his fitness by playing at least 2 Ranji trophy matches before being considered for the Australia tour.

  • on November 7, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    @wolf777, India would give up anything to have Aaron and Yadav turn into Zaheer Khans!

  • here2rock on November 7, 2011, 11:29 GMT

    Let's hope he is not fit to go to Australia. India do not need him.

  • ABP235 on November 7, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    It is not a rocket science to predict that Zak will fall short again on the tough tour of Australia. The odds of breaking down will be very high indeed. We shoiuld rather stick to the young and fit bowlers and make them go all out against the Aussies, with persistence. Get the young bowlers bowling 140+ like Yadav, Aaron etc a good enough full series. If there is a time for bowling coach Eric Simmons to work on, its on these lads and now, else we can ask Simmons to find another employment. Along with Ishant and probably, Mithun too, India should be quite comfortable of its pacers. Testing them in Australia will be the best opportunity. And more importantly, India should rely on its strength - spin bowling - and get Ozha, Ashwin and Rahul Sharma a full series in Australia as well. We need to give 6 months to regain fitness and form for these 30+ guys (Zak, Bhajji etc).

  • rahulcricket007 on November 7, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    LET'S HOPE HE IS SAYING TRUE . WE DEFINITELY NEED HIM AGAINST AUSSIES ESPECIALLY FOR LET HANDERS LIKE HUSSEY , HUGHES .

  • on November 7, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    @hhillbumper really? you are joking. India won with 3 bowlers (nehra sucked and pathan debuted) in Adelaide flat pitch,AND without Zaheer at perth. really that was much stronger lineup than the one england beat. ZAHEER'S RECORD IN ENGLAND SPEAKS FOR ITSELF , ENGLAND FANS SHOULD KNOW THAT. THE DEPENDENCY ON HIM IS PATHETIC THOUGH .BTW. HE TOOK A 5-FER IN THE ONLY FULL TEST HE PLAYED IN AUS.(ACTUALLY BROKE DOWN IN ALL HIS 3 TESTS THERE- 2 AT MCG AND 1 AT GABBA) NEVER PLAYED AN ODI IN AUS.

    @Nampally when has current england team (post flintoff) or aus team played with 5 bowlers????? GET A REALITY CHECK. WATSON ,KALLIS HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING BOWLERS. ENGLAND AT BEST HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO PICK 5 BOWLERS.

  • himanshu.team on November 7, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    This is one of the best comments coming from him "I am glad I don't feel all that secure or that I've created any kind of a zone for myself. In fact, I am looking forward to prove myself all over once again".

    However, I do feel he should not rush his comeback, and ensure that he is fully fit. After that he must play a couple of first class games to get his rythm back, and only then be taken to Australia.

  • Nampally on November 7, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    @Wolf77: You seem to be right in your prediction. India in Sehwag, Gambhir, SRT, Dravid, VVS have the best 5 batsmen in the top order with numbers to support it. If Dhoni bats at #6, India can always go with 5 specialist bowlers.This will ensure proper work load sharing as you state. England have done it as do the Aussies & SA.I fail to understand why Dhoni's fascination with all roundesr who are mediocre bowlers. Jadeja, Yuvraj & Y.Pathan call themselves all rounders but they are batsmen not consistent bowlers - all 3 have been thrashed at 6 runs/over in crucial games. India had Mankad & Kapil Dev as great all rounders in the past who bowled & batted brilliantly. If there is an outstanding all rounder like Mankad or Kapil by all means include them but not a batsman who calls himself an all rounder but cannot bowl 20 overs/day & take wickets. 5 bowlers with a combo of 3 Pace& 2 Spin or other way round is good.On fast wkts. go with 4 pace. This will avoid overload injuries like ZAK's.

  • hhillbumper on November 6, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    it was a shame he didnt play all the series in england.it was quite painful to listen to all the excuses coming from fans on this website and how lucky england got.as for a winning bowling attack in australia you must be joking.good luck with that series though

  • wolf777 on November 6, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    Sorry to break the news; but, Dhoni is planning to play Tests with only four bowlers and you will be overbowled. Get ready for another injury and few months of rehabilitation. For those who are happy to see Yadav and Aaron bowl fast, wait for few months. Extra workload due to the lack of fifth bowler will convert them in medium pacers like Zaheer very soon.

  • East_West on November 6, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    MUXIMUS - well said:) England tour showed our really weakness - other bowlers couldn't use their talent in such a beautiful conditions whereas English took care of it, indian batsman sans Dravid were useless, Sachin was no good either, laxman was a huge failure, Sehwag doesn't even know how to bat, Gambhir's situation is understandable, but we waster lots of others keeping on the bench!!! As someone said, Zak is couple of weeks away from injury again!! gone were the days of Kapil who never had any injury issues - not sure if this indicates the fitness levels of a bowler - on and off the season or too much workload!! I have heard that Kapil's work ethic even when the season is off was great! it seems he always took care of his body during his playing days!! anyways, we have too many great bowlers shortening their test careers because of injuries - Malinga, SHane bond,....

  • on November 6, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    If harbhajan didn't pick wickets in Ranji this month then may be In AUS we can see indian team playing with 4 seamers bcoz I don't see Dhoni risking Ashwin or ohja in AUS esp in test matches My 4 seamers will be Ishant, Aaron Yadav and Zhaeer (if he gets fit) bcoz both yuvraj and sehwag can bowl if needed or wicket takes a little turn though this time around there will be fast pacy wickets for india as AUS doesn't have a spinner. I will be quiet happy if india fields 4 seamers in Australia

  • playitstraight on November 6, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    Hopefully, he is FULLY FIT when he comes to Australia, and when I say fully fit, I mean fully, not partially fit to bowl 10 overs in an innings and then get injured. It is really depressing for Indian fans, to see Zaheer get injured so many times. He should really look after his fitness, although he is 33. If he can play for India for another 3 years at least (hopefully) without his body getting injured, then by that time the young Indian fast bowlers would have gained experience and learned a lot and be ready to take over the bowling unit. Ishant, especially, has matured a lot and so has Praveen Kumar. But against a world-class team like Australia, we definitely need a fully fit Zaheer in order to take 20 wickets. Good luck Zaheer on your fitness!!!

  • on November 6, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    well hopefully he is fit becouse there is no surety of ishant fitness and i think he with ishant and one of umesh and varun and a spinner in ojha or ashwin will form a test match winning bowling attack which india lacked in eng

  • FallsDown on November 6, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    Couple of weeks away from regaining fitness, couple of spells away from going off injured again

  • on November 6, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    He can say that it is unfortunate that he got injured in ENG tour if he had been injured during some third or fourth test..He cant say the reason being injured in first test that too after bowling only 10 overs...which means he was unfit.. Anyway we want him in AUS tour :)

  • muximus on November 6, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    zak didnt cost us the series.. the absolute ineffectiveness of all the other bowlers did.. along with non performance of our batsmen.. i think 1st tour where sachin did not score even 1 hundred.. other than dravid no 1 really stood up to be counted..

  • SajithKrishna on November 6, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Atleast this time, we've got backups like Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron who are "fast"

  • spence1324 on November 6, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    What does he mean? Is he injury free?,or is it that he has lost the belly!

  • on November 6, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    Waiting for Zaheer to be back.We need him against Australia.

  • on November 6, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    hope zak is absolutely true.india really need him against aus.good luck for u r speedy recovery.

  • DrArunPras on November 6, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    Pls don't select him unless he's fully fit.. otherwise he will again become a liability in a big tour like this

  • on November 6, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    @Satyam Ravi Dwivedi:I think cricinfo team got excited by the news that zaheer is getting close to fully fit :)

  • nickydude on November 6, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    He said the same thing bef Eng tour & that cost us the series. Hope, he does not repeat the same fiasco again!

  • on November 6, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    wuts with the hyperlink eh...lol

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  • on November 6, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    wuts with the hyperlink eh...lol

  • nickydude on November 6, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    He said the same thing bef Eng tour & that cost us the series. Hope, he does not repeat the same fiasco again!

  • on November 6, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    @Satyam Ravi Dwivedi:I think cricinfo team got excited by the news that zaheer is getting close to fully fit :)

  • DrArunPras on November 6, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    Pls don't select him unless he's fully fit.. otherwise he will again become a liability in a big tour like this

  • on November 6, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    hope zak is absolutely true.india really need him against aus.good luck for u r speedy recovery.

  • on November 6, 2011, 11:09 GMT

    Waiting for Zaheer to be back.We need him against Australia.

  • spence1324 on November 6, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    What does he mean? Is he injury free?,or is it that he has lost the belly!

  • SajithKrishna on November 6, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Atleast this time, we've got backups like Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron who are "fast"

  • muximus on November 6, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    zak didnt cost us the series.. the absolute ineffectiveness of all the other bowlers did.. along with non performance of our batsmen.. i think 1st tour where sachin did not score even 1 hundred.. other than dravid no 1 really stood up to be counted..

  • on November 6, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    He can say that it is unfortunate that he got injured in ENG tour if he had been injured during some third or fourth test..He cant say the reason being injured in first test that too after bowling only 10 overs...which means he was unfit.. Anyway we want him in AUS tour :)