Zaheer eager to regain India spot

Zaheer Khan stretched during practice Associated Press

Zaheer Khan, the India fast bowler, has said he is eager to reclaim his spot in the Indian team and that he will utilise the time after the IPL to work on his fitness and form. Zaheer was out of action for four-and-a-half months before playing two matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this week.

"I'm definitely feeling much better but I know I've still got a long way to go," Zaheer told the IPL website. "Post IPL I have to put in some serious work into my fitness and form to reclaim my place in the Indian team. That's what's on my mind right now - I want to use that period after the IPL to get stronger, fitter and improve in all the areas."

India will play the Champions Trophy after the IPL but Zaheer was not included in the squad of 15 for the tournament. Before the IPL, he last played for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy last December in a league game against Gujarat but sustained a calf injury which forced him out of the knockout stages and the Irani Cup.

"I was itching to get back on the field but I always take my time to come back whenever I am injured," Zaheer said. "This time too, I could have played a couple of matches earlier but it's always good to be a game late than coming back too early. That was the thinking between the trainer, physio and me."

On grounds of form and fitness, he had been dropped during the home Test series against England late last year and for the ODIs against Pakistan.