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'By no means am I done' - Zaheer Khan

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 31, 2013

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Zaheer Khan walked off the field with slight discomfort, Mumbai v Railways, Group A, Ranji Trophy, Mumbai, 3rd day, November 4, 2012
Zaheer Khan is recovering from a calf injury © Fotocorp
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by StarHawk on (February 2, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

I don't know why some people want Zaheer to focus on test matches. Watching him play test matches and domestic matches recently, it looks like he's not fit to play for 5 days. He bowls at full throttle in his first spell and then looks flat and disinterested. He is pretty poor on the field and goes off the field regularly in between the game. He doesn't have the fitness to stay on the field for long periods of the game. So, I don't think concentrating on test matches is the way forward for him.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (February 2, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge You copy paste the same comment everywhere. Zaheer did not even play one full innings in England other wise he would have finished Strauss career right after the end of the series.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

Zak is one premier swing bowler in the world i am sure he will come back and this is good to time to be dropped so that he can work on his fielding and also full fit zak can damage many oppostion i hope he comes back before south africa tour which late December or october where India trying to make a history. India need Zak services in the future he should avoid playing IPL and T20 matches.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (February 1, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

I am a die-hard ZAK fan and I want to see him play in 2015WC!! He was phenomenal in 20011WC but after that he has not been able to make an impact due to fitness issues. I believe he must play only in tests to make himself a lethal option for India and plan a way to come back in ODI side somewhere in 2014. Team India needs ZAK to be as effective as ever!!

Posted by here2rock on (February 1, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

For God sake, just give up! You fitness level is so poor for an International fast bowler. Your best is beyond you, just accept it. I still remember how you bowled the first over in the 2003 World Cup Final, you breaking down against England in 4-0 washout and then putting up a sloppy show in Australia wash out 4-0. How much more damage do you want to inflict on Indian Cricket. You are not a good role model for the young Indian pace attack. Let's hope they don't end up like you.

Posted by raj_n on (February 1, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

Nobody doubts Zaheers ability. He is the best India has produced.The issue is about his commitment. If the spearhead decides not to give his best and just about do enough it rubs off on all the other players.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (February 1, 2013, 6:38 GMT)

Easily India's best ever seamer along with Kapil. Why write him off yet? Quicks like this are like hen's teeth in India.

Posted by raj..... on (February 1, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

Zaheer should retrn n perfrm at peak of his form.....N should retire wen at d peak unlike oder indian stars.............

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 1, 2013, 3:32 GMT)

300 wickets as indian fast bowler...better worship. Most indian cricket are fools in my opinion. They do know what they have. As much sehwag won many tests , zaheer khan bowling also did help equally. Zaheer and Sehwag was weapons that launched india to number 1 not dhoni. Most people india do not know. Dhoni was impotent in 10-0 Loss that tells clear story. Dhoni is great in ODI. Best odi batsman indian ever produced. Test cricket dhoni is utter useless.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 1, 2013, 3:29 GMT)

Keep it up. You are not done yet. Just fix all the issues. You will be back strong.

Posted by vik56in on (January 31, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

Zaheer Khan is on 295 Test wickets.It is the duty of BCCI to make him play till he reaches 300 Test wickets.He will be in the elite list of very few fast bowlers in cricket who have taken 300 wickets,the company of Lillie,Marshall,Allan Donald etc.They say India doesn't produce fast bowlers.But if Zaheer Khan too reaches 300 wickets after Kapil Dev,it will inspire many cricketers in India to take up fast bowling.They say Pakistan produces fast bowlers but just a reminder that on Waqar,Imran and Wasim have more than 300.So Zaheer Khan if he reaches 300 can look back on an illustrious career when he is an old man.There are lots of rich people,so it is not the money that he makes that counts But the wickets and records.So BCCI and Indian cricket fans ,please support Zaheer Khan !

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 31, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

I'm afraid you are on the way out Zaheer, England have finished you off.

Posted by bookie7600 on (January 31, 2013, 22:26 GMT)

KUDOS to Zaheer for accepting and acknowledging what is wrong with him ! Saying that he needs to work hard on his fitness is a BIG THING ! When have we heard people like BHajji, Sehwag, Munaf , Yuvi say this ! We all know how the culture in India is- Ganguly admittedly never wanted to be in a Gym ! These are professional sportsmen and they need to be FIT at anytime of the year. I am happy to hear this and am hopefull that a fit Zaheer can atleast be better than Ishant-Vinay-Mithun-Varun etc etc who are all vying for that INDIA CAP.

Posted by pull_shot on (January 31, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

He even sacrificed his personal life for indian cricket. he should go gracefully

Posted by Nampally on (January 31, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

Zaheer has full right to play as long as he wishes. However to play for India in either Tests or ODI's he needs to be 100% Fit first & be able to produce the fire that he had at his best. ZAK was one of the best Seamers in India & an extremely wily One. He had his full share of injuries of various types during the past 2 years. In fact he is still fighting his injuries right now. The recovery time from any injury is directly proportional to age - the older the person is, the longer it takes. ZAK is now 34 which is an age for a Fast bowler to think of retirement. I wish him all the best but he is fighting a losing battle against an Ageing Body!

Posted by Rising_Edge1234 on (January 31, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

Yes you're done. Now go gracefully.

Posted by on (January 31, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

Agree with the comment of meety here , at full fitness zak is class act , swinging the new and reversing the old ball , he is a thinking bowler which makes him an asset on any kind of pitches , but i don't think he will be able to do all that at his current fitness level , only solution is to concentrate on tests , drop both odi and t20s..

Posted by Shan156 on (January 31, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

@karthik2501, the last time it happened, he was under 30. Now, he is in his mid-30s and has been out of shape for a while too. At this age, it is too hard to get back to full form and fitness.

Zaheer must be dreaming that he still has 4 or 5 years left. India would have to look past him. Their pace dept is inexperienced but quite skillful. Yadav, when fit, is a very good bowler. With Aaron, B.Kumar, P.Kumar, Shammi, Sreesanth, and Ishant, they have a good set of fast/medium-fast bowlers. They are all quite young. They should work on their fitness and would have to be carefully managed by the BCCI.

Posted by agarkarno1 on (January 31, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

He believes he can deliver for more years, which is good. For Australia series his contribution would be vital against an inexperienced batting side. He is a rhythm bowler and he needs to play more matches without getting injury for Australia series. Zaheer in full flow is a treat to watch and lethal to batsmen.

Posted by Rising_Edge1234 on (January 31, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Yes you're done. Now go gracefully.

Posted by karthik2501 on (January 31, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

Actually its fine that he is out of the side. The last time when he was out of the side he went to play county cricket at England performed well and came back.

This time i hope he does the same but IPL would be making problems.

Posted by HyderabadiFlick on (January 31, 2013, 15:51 GMT)

I think it is a typo by cricinfo, may be it shld read I'm good to play for 3-4 months. I have never seen Zaheer fire in the throw right on top of the stumps in his entire career. I'm waiting to see him do that and I'm still waiting...probably will wait forever. Long story short...he is a liability in the team..I agree with many that he must at least do some SWOT analysis on himself and then play only Test cricket for an year and retire. He must forget about T20s & ODIs.

Posted by RK.Chandru on (January 31, 2013, 15:48 GMT)

Comments posted here already say it all. Zak is past his prime and is a liability to the team nowadays. I only pray, selectors do not get influenced by the self portrait statements being issued by these failures and discard and dump them to the bin forever.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (January 31, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

I cannot see Zaheer getting back. All sportsmen must be myopic that they cannot see their shortfall. Zaheer, Viru, Gambhir are all at the end of the assembly line but they still one that one innings. Some like Sachin even wants to play Ranji to prove it, but if past is any indication Kapil was a mere shadow of the great bowler he was, I dont see these guys coming back. Maybe an inning here or a fiver somewhere that might give them more time as Indian selectors are not strong enough like their counterparts across the globe

Posted by Neeta on (January 31, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

Zak is one of the greatest bowlers India has ever produced. It is heartening to see that he is ready to work on his other aspects of the game like fielding & fitness. Bowling has never been a problem for him and he has all the skills which are required in a fast bowler's armory. It has always been the fitness problems for Zak which have hindered him otherwise he would have been one of the greats of the game. A fit Zaheer is the biggest asset India can have at their disposal. Another side to his game is that he has gained such a wealth of experience that can be passed on to the emerging fast bowling prospects of India. Zak and Yadav along with Sreesanth if he gets his act together can be the most destructive force on the SA tour. Lets hope for the best and as a loyal fan I would like to see Zak leave behind his fitness issues and give his best to Indian side till at least 2015 WC. Best of luck from a loyal Indian supporter.

Posted by ListenToMe on (January 31, 2013, 13:31 GMT)

I have only one suggestion to make: Play him only if he proves his skills in domestic cricket and also if he is 100% fit. Otherwise please do not put him as a burden to the team India.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (January 31, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

While in a nation where only 1 person, Sachin Tendulkar, is accountable for his performances....others like Zaheer, Sehwag, Gambhir and Yuvraj play series after series despite poor form and little accountability...

Zaheer hasn't picked a 5-wkt haul in 3-4 years and nowadays spends more time at NCA healing then bowling....

Probably, he means he will be around the NCA for 3-4 years...

Posted by AK47_pk on (January 31, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

He is still india, s best bowler by far. Looking at talent coming up for india, zaheer shud play for atleast 10 more years.

Posted by mgr125128 on (January 31, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

3-4 years ????????No way... He isnt Richard Hadlee who lost his pace but did not loose sting. I have been a great fan of Zaheer but this is ridiculous. Even a school kid could see he is struggling in fitness even for a ODI leave alone a test match. Test match require supreme fitness which Zaheer no longer has. Do not understand why these seniors wann block a newcomers chance . They are not even winning us matches like Steve Waugh used to do. Unnecessary the spoil their hard earned good name as well as spoil India's record in test matches.

Posted by balajit on (January 31, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

Problem with zaheer is his fitness. He should stop playing ODI's & t 20 internationals. whatever happens he's sure to play IPL for next 2-3 years. So might as well get fit & concentrate on tests. If fit & on song he could play very important role in South Africa.

He certainly has lot to offer especially in tests, young bowlers can learn from him. But fitness is the key.

Posted by cricket_frenzy on (January 31, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

he is getting old. He may be a great bowler, but u need to even be able to field. Also, he needs to take wickets. i guess he would want to play atleast till 2015wc

Posted by indianpunter on (January 31, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

@Nutcutlet, you took the words out of my mouth. If only insight was bestowed on some of these indian cricketers! Wishful thinking indeed.

Posted by ravirks on (January 31, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

"I was not expecting it (being dropped): Zaheer"- This is the problem our team is facing. All the stars feel that they will not be axed and stay with team just because they had done something great in the past. They should realize that the team has to chosen on performance and team needs BEST 11, yes best performer!! At the same time If these stars are dropped and they perform well at domestic or other level they should again be considered rather than discarded for ever because they are 30+

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (January 31, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

A half fit zaheer does more harm than no zaheer. Sorry mate time running out. If i were selector i wouldn't invest on some one who is prone to injuries in the beginning of series and risk the whole match(or series). I would invest on a new young player to give him a chance to fail.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 31, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

I think he deserves to be given a shot again.....provided he proves his fitness.And i guess he can contribute a lot to Indian Cricket not specifically as a bowler but as a fast bowling coach. I hope and pray for his fitness so that he comes back and leave the game on high (at least play 100 test).

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 31, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

Zaheer was the best (some may say, the only) quality quick India could call on three & more years ago. And, yes, he was a skilful & potent weapon, then. The evidence of his fitness during the series v England suggests, however, that his day has come & gone. Effective for a few opening overs, he became a passenger for the rest of the match & in the field he was a total embarrassment, reminding me of some rotund county cricketers in the '60s. I have seen a good few Test matches & let me share with those who are minded to read this post that he is as unfit a quick bowler as I have ever seen on a first class team for 40 years. India has a good, keen, & very fit set of promising fast bowlers, esp. B Kumar & S Ahmed. Ishant Sharma also needs to work on his fielding, but is a good investment as the leader of the attack. Sorry, ZK. Time to look in the mirror & announce your departure from international cricket with dignity. There's still the IPL to top up the pension pot. Enjoy it.

Posted by BobCo on (January 31, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

Wow. Delusional! A very good bowler who has almost always had fitness issues. He has never been the type of player capable of putting in hard hours of fitness training. Does he reckon he will learn how to do this now? He has 2 chances: Buckley's and none!

Posted by agarkarno1 on (January 31, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

Yes, we need Zaheer in his full form, he is one fast bowler who has performed consistently after Srinath, for more than 12 years now. Still he is a threat to the world batsmen, and our country needs him in form against Aussies.

Posted by US_Indian on (January 31, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

points to be noted: #1. You are not Sachin whom the management would pamper even after repeated failures. #2. You are a fast bowler and show me one bowler who has gone past 35 to 38, may be one or two example but not in the recent history. #3. Just look at your fitness level and how much injury prone you are and this is not batsman nor a spinner to remain playing till 38. So my humble advise is become fit, play for a year or two and quit on a high note rather than being show n the door. You are a good bowler and you have done your part and served the country for over a decade with some success and you have earned a name for yourself please follow the path of Kumble, RSD,VVS not the path of SRT, and keep that image and respect intact and leave the game, may be later on take coaching as a profession and serve india in that capacity and give back to the game and the nation which gave you so much in life.

Posted by oops282 on (January 31, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

Whatttt ... He is already 34 years and 116 days old and he still wants to play 3 - 4 years more. Its good to be optimistic but in his case he should be realistic . With the presence of Shami Ahmad and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, i doubt that he would be able to continue for more than one year. bye bye ZAK

Posted by Ankur_cricinfo on (January 31, 2013, 6:38 GMT)

Zaheer saying that he will work on all aspects of his game is heartening to read. I sincerely believe that its 'ALL ABOUT FITNESS' for him. He's led India to great heights earlier (including #1 Test Ranking) and bowling with him the younger crop of our fast bowlers can learn a lot as well.

Go on Zaheer... Run faster, learn to dive in field & set your aim high, we'll welcome you with smiles & glee.

Posted by jhabib on (January 31, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

India now has a decent medium-fast attack in B. Kumar, S. Ahmed and I. Sharma. I think India should concentrate on developing B. Kumar into a more complete bowler. He is a light of hope for a country that has suffered from a dirge of capable fast bowlers.

Perhaps Zaheer Khan should take up coaching... that has more value for India than him playing.

He was undoubtedly a good left-arm bowler in his day and age.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 31, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

Zaheer should quit test cricket...not fit enough to play test matches and bowl that many overs in a day. Can play important ODI or T20 tournaments like World Cups but nothing more.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 31, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

Zaheer could have been an all time great for India. Fitness has turned out to be his achilles heel, seems like he only hits the gym and does physio when his place in the side is under threat.

Posted by Maratha-Mumbaikar on (January 31, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

If anyone remembers what South Africans did to Allan Donal. They preserved him & got the best out of him at his fag end of his career. BCCI should do the same with Zaheer Khan, he has loads of experience & he being around it will help all the new guys.

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 31, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

Three to Four years? Good God, 3-4 more months is bad enough but he wants to lead India's attack when he'll be close to 40 yrs in age. What does that say about our bowling resources?

Fair enough that he still has the determination, that's one aspect that I'm pleased to read. But for Zak to be considered again, he needs to PROVE his fitness more than anything, he has let India down on tours of South Africa (twice), Australia and England (2011) where he's either shown up injured or broken down in the 1st Test of a tour and left our team severely weakened.

I suggest he tries to find an English County team for 2013 and work his way back up. Clearly, he won't be available for the Oz tests.

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