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

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 6, 2011

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

Zaheer Khan takes a break during India's practice session, Nottingham, July 28, 2011
Zaheer Khan: "I think I did the right thing by opting to go to England and again the right thing to opt out" © PA Photos
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 11:38 GMT)

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

Posted by here2rock on (November 7, 2011, 11:29 GMT)

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

Posted by 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).

Posted by 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 .

Posted by   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.

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