Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
The old warhorse of Indian bowling Zaheer Khan has finally made a comeback in the Test team for the crucial South African tour. The 35-year-old Zak first went through grueling fitness sessions to make sure that his fitness won’t let him down. Then a much leaner Zaheer proved his fitness in domestic circuit and a few unofficial matches to get the green signal from the selectors, to spearhead the Indian attack once again in Tests.
After the retirement of frontline fast bowler Javagal Srinath, the only bowler who effectively managed to fill the void space is undoubtedly Zaheer. He played a crucial role all these years by spearheading the Indian bowling attack. From moving the new ball both ways with good control, to reverse swinging the old one, to use slower one with good effect, his versatility made him one of the best fast bowlers in contemporary cricket.
Zaheer’s talent and contribution was such that once MS Dhoni stated that he is the Sachin Tendulkar of bowling. And even the best swing bowler in contemporary cricket Jimmy Anderson admitted that he picked a few tricks from Zaheer.
Zaheer’s presence in the team is quite crucial for the inexperienced Indian fast bowlers. They can learn from his experience. In fact Umesh Yadav, who himself is making a comeback in the team for the overseas African tour looked more excited with the fact that the veteran pacer has also been included for the series.
“Zaheer has had a great influence on youngsters with his ability to guide us through the bump and grind of international cricket. I have got a lot of valuable tips on fast bowling and there is no better exponent of reverse swing than Zak. He is like mentor to us and it is an honour to play international cricket alongside him," Umesh Yadav stated.
He further added “Zaheer`s advice in match situations are invaluable as he is a brilliant reader of opposition batsmen."
So this time Zaheer’s presence in the team will solve two purposes. First is to make the Indian bowling line-up stronger and then to be the mentor of next crop of seamers.