I was unsure if ‘I wanted to make a comeback’, reveals Zaheer Khan

Image courtesy of: The Guardian

“I chalked out a plan and so far it has worked”

India left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan has revealed that he was unsure if he “wanted to make a comeback” while recovering from a calf injury he picked up in the Ranji Trophy.

Khan’s revelations come after he was included in India’s Test squad for their upcoming tour of South Africa in December.

“Last year, I sat down and I was thinking about exactly how to get back,” Khan said. “Firstly, if I wanted to make a comeback, that was the biggest question for me.

“When the answer was yes, I chalked out the strategy that was exactly needed and I did everything to make sure I was there. Obviously, the physical aspect was the big thing and I had to tackle that. And then in consultation with a lot of trainers and physios, I chalked out a plan and so far it has worked.”

After suffering his injury, Khan travelled to France, where he participated in a strenuous fitness programme with trainer Tim Exeter.

Following his visit to France, Khan flew to South Africa, where he continued training with Adrian le Roux in Bloemfontein.

“It’s been a slow progress right from Shimoga,” Khan said. “When I went to Shimoga, I knew that I need some overs under my belt.

“I didn’t want anything to happen suddenly. I was kind of progressing slowly but surely. As I bowled a few overs in that particular game, slowly things started picking up. I’ve always believed in match practice being the best practice. The spell that I bowled in Hubli towards the end of the game gave me a lot of confidence and from then I just picked it up.”

After making a full recovery, Khan played three Ranji Trophy matches and proved to the national selectors that he was back in form and fully fit.

“It was more to do with getting in that zone as far as matches are concerned,” he said. “Once I had overs under my belt I was comfortable being on the field.

“I was feeling that the recovery in between the spells was spot on. I was able to recover between the spells and come next day. So those were the things I was looking at. As far as Test matches are concerned, not only do you have to put in the effort on day one, but the important thing is you have to come back the following day and make sure you are there from ball one.”

While training in France, Khan revealed that he thought about opening a fitness centre in India “so that a lot of people [benefit]” from it.

“I have planned to start something so that a lot of people [benefit],” he said. “I had the privilege to go abroad, I could afford to go and do those things. But I feel in India you need a set-up like that in terms of physiotherapy and fitness, so hopefully instead of giving you a lowdown, I can give you the real thing.”

However, while opening a fitness centre is on his to-do list, Khan is currently focused on his form and fitness, along with mentoring and grooming India’s younger talents.

“That comes naturally for me,” he said. “If I can help someone, I don’t hesitate to go up to him and say what I feel. Being a bowler in the subcontinent is not an easy task. It’s about just backing yourself and believing that. That thought process is very important when playing in the subcontinent.”

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