Zaheer Khan, India’s maverick fast bowler, will retire today from International cricket at the age of 37. Khan was a swing prodigy for an Indian team which was starved of good pace bowlers in early 2000s. He also belongs to the pack of some good-old swing bowlers including James Anderson, Umar Gul and even Glenn McGrath, when you consider that he spent much of his career on dead pitches in the sub-continent.
Seldom does a team find a gem like Zaheer who is willing to learn and unlearn in order to improve and match his game with the world’s best. His temperament and the ability to control a game at crucial moments won India many close matches. His in-swinging Yorkers in the 2011 World Cup game against England which ended in a tie is the stuff legends are made of.
Khan was the spearhead of an Indian bowling attack, in an era which was dominated by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. His presence in the Indian team was reassuring and on his day, his inch perfect Yorkers were unplayable. His performance in away conditions was always special because who can forget those 18 wickets which he scalped in 3 tests matches in England in 2007.
Khan was also one of those lucky Indian cricketers who were a part of the team which made the finals on two accounts in 2003 and 2011. It was his hunger to succeed and win at the highest level which sustained him for long in International cricket. Zaheer was the joint highest wicket taker in the 2011 world cup and for that he deserves our salute.
We will definitely miss a badass swing bowler like Khan in the Indian lineup but all good things must come to an end and by choosing to retire during a transitional phase in Indian cricket where young guys deserve more chances, Zaheer has earned the respect of his fans and critics alike.
We wish Zaheer Khan the best of luck in all his future endeavors. The Indian team was fortunate to have a bowler like you at their disposal!
Courtesy - BCCL/MENSXP