Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: With the wicket of Jacques Kallis at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on the fifth day of the first Test between India and South Africa, Zaheer Khan became the fourth Indian bowler and only the second pacer to take 300 wickets in Test matches.
The spearhead of Indian bowling attack achieved the milestone when he trapped Kallis in front of the wicket.Though, in the replay, it was found that the batsmen got unlucky with the ball getting a big inside edge.
The 35-year-old left-armer joins the elite company of leg spinner Anil Kumble (619 wickets), all-rounder Kapil Dev (434) and offie Harbhajan Singh (413) in his 89th match. He also becomes the most successful left arm fast bowler in the longer format of the game after Pakistani great Wasim Akram (414) and Sri Lanka's Chaminda Vaas (355).
Now, Zaheer climbs upto 27th place in the list of all time leading wicket takers in Test, which is led by Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan with 800 scalps.
Making a come-back to Indian squad after an absence of more than a year due to fitness issues, Zaheer took four wickets in the first innings of the match. Then, achieved the milestone, with a little bit of luck in South Africa's second innings.
After the retirement of legendary fast bowler Javagal Srinath, the only bowler who effectively managed to fill the void is undoubtedly Zaheer Khan. From moving the new ball both ways with good control, to reverse swinging the old one, and ability to use the slower ones with good effect, his versatility has made him one of the best fast bowlers in contemporary cricket. But right through his illustrious career, Zaheer has been plagued with injuries which forced him to miss matches at regular intervals. And everytime he makes a comeback, he always proved his worth with virtuoso interests in the game. It was never his form, but always his injury and fitness concern that gave him tough times in the past.
Zaheer’s talent and contribution was such that once MS Dhoni stated that he is the Sachin Tendulkar of bowling. Even, Jimmy Anderson, considered the best of the present lot in the swing business, admitted that he picked a few tricks from Zak.