‘My fitness has let me down and I have been working on it’, says Zaheer Khan

Image courtesy of: The Indian Express

Khan and Singh worked on improving their fitness in France

Veteran India pace bowler Zaheer Khan has admitted that he feels ashamed about his fitness levels over the last year as it has cost him his spot in the national team.

Khan and all-rounder Yuvraj Singh were recently in France on a fitness enhancement course and upon returning back to India, Khan stated that his next goal was to perform well in domestic matches and regain his spot in the national team.

“Everybody wants to represent the country. If I am fit and can meet the demands, things should fall in place,” Zaheer told DNA. “My fitness has let me down and I have been working on it. My next big test would be the domestic season, the Ranji Trophy. I want to get back into the Indian team.”

Khan’s last limited overs match for India came in October 2012 and it wasn’t long before he also lost his place in the Test side, which happened during India’s four-Test series against England at home in December.

While Khan was struggling to recover from an injury he sustained in February, the Indian side whitewashed Australia 4-0, which was not a good sign for him, but in an attempt to put on a brave face, the 34-year-old congratulated the side for their outstanding achievement and added that the fierce competition for the 11 starting spots was a positive sign of things to come.

“Competition only helps you do your best,” he said. “There is no threat. Youngsters doing well is a good sign for Indian cricket. And if the seniors do the same, then you become a champion side.”

Meanwhile, Singh also praised the national team for their impressive achievements over the past couple of months, which included winning the last ever Champions Trophy and whitewashing Zimbabwe 5-0 in an ODI series.

“I am very happy with the way the youngsters have been performing,” Singh said. “But it is the balance of seniors and youngsters that makes a team strong.

“With or without me, India should select the best XI. [But] I believe that a team should be a blend of youth and experience. I am not saying that past success should be taken into account while selecting a present team but one shouldn’t forget what we have achieved for the country.”

While the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup remains a long-term goal for Singh, his immediate concern in directed towards resuming his international career.

“The 2015 World Cup is very far, we still have a year-and-a-half for the World Cup,” he said. “But it remains a part of my goal and I want to make it happen. But my immediate goal is to play for India as soon as possible. For that I have to play as much cricket as I can before the Challenger [Trophy].”

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