India left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan has insisted that he still has a lot left in the tank after he was snubbed for the national team’s tour of England.
Khan, who has been struggling with numerous injuries over the past couple of months, has revealed that he will use the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) as the first stepping stone to making his comeback.
“Ultimately what you show in the wickets column and how you have created an impact on the game is what matters,” Zaheer told ESPNcricinfo. “To me it does not matter what pace I’m bowling at. If I am able to create that impact where things are going my way, the conditions are suiting me and I’m able to take three wickets in a seven-over spell that is what I look for.”
Khan noted that he has never been an “out-and-out fast bowler”. Instead, he relies upon his variations to trouble the batsmen.
“Pace has never been the most important criteria for me,” he said. “Obviously you cannot be bowling at 125kph, but if I am able to bowl at 135 with variations and control over line and length it is equivalent to bowling as quick as 140kph. I have focused on speed-up variations: if I am bowling at an average speed of 131-133kph suddenly I spike it to 138kph the odd ball it has proved crucial.”
During India’s two-Test series against South Africa in December, Khan proved that he can still be an asset to the team as he was the most successful Indian bowler with seven wickets.
“I have always felt that it is not about the first day you bowl in Test matches but it is the next day when you back up,” he said. “I could feel I had gone from one level to the next when I came back the third morning (at Wanderers) and I took three wickets in a spell. It was similar in New Zealand where with the new ball in the second innings of the Wellington Test where I got three wickets in a spell.
“That is what I have been known for: when I get it going I pick up two or three in a spell. And that is what makes you different from others. It is important that you can make that kind of impact.”
Khan, who has played 92 Tests so far, added that he is determined to represent India in 100 Test matches and in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as well.
“I am open to it. [The] World Cup is a special tournament and it is everyone’s dream to be part of the Indian team,” he said. “But it is still a long way away. Right now, if you ask me am I fit to bowl? I am not. Things will unfold for me. Champions League Twenty20 is the first step towards proving I am fit and [on] top of my game.”