Zaheer unlikely to play in CLT20

"I have to just go with how my body is responding"

“I have to just go with how my body is responding”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Veteran India pace bowler Zaheer Khan has revealed that he is unlikely to represent the Mumbai Indians during the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) as he is still recovering from an arm injury.

Khan strained the tendons in his left arm, which is the one he bowls with, during Mumbai’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match against the Kings XI Punjab on May 3 at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

Prior to the IPL, Khan represented India in four Tests against South Africa and New Zealand, but was highly disappointing with the ball as he only took 16 wickets at an average of 44. However, despite not looking like the same bowler of his glory days, Khan stated that he was “very happy” with his performance.

“It is about how you are impacting the game. I was never an out and out fast bowler,” he said. “I was always dependent on my skill set, how I set up a batsman and how I am making that impact in a spell. If you look at these four games, I did have spells where I got wickets in bulk. I was able to break partnerships, which is the key.

“If the opponents are having a good run, someone needs to put their hand up and break it. I was always there in that scenario and those are the checkpoints for me. I was very happy that I was able to keep up with the workload.”

Khan has repeatedly said that he is eager to represent India in 100 Test matches, but he still needs to play eight more Tests to complete that milestone. In addition to that, Khan’s time is quickly running out since the national selectors are constantly looking for younger players nowadays, which is why Khan wasn’t picked for the national team’s recently concluded five-Test series against England.

“I like to stay in the present. Control the controllable, it’s the best you can do,” he said. “I don’t really think about the future and what is going to happen and I don’t stress about what has already happened.

“I have to just go with how my body is responding and the important thing is for me to play again, I have to bowl at my best. First I have to satisfy myself that I am there and that I can deliver. If I am able to live up to the stress and pressures of international cricket, I’ll just take a call at that time.”

While Khan has launched his own sporting academy during his time away from international cricket, he has been keeping on eye on the national team and believes that the Indian bowlers became fatigued due to such a long series. He added that losing pace bowler Ishant Sharma after his match-winning spell during the second Test at Lord’s was a major setback for the side.

“If someone is bowling well in a long series and is able to create a big impact, that’s what we were missing,” he said. “There are things you learn with experience. The whole bowling unit is very young. At this level it is important that you get into a good routine and manage yourself well.”

The 35-year-old was also disgusted with the performance of Indian batsmen and said that they need to start making more contributions if the team is to have any chance of being successful overseas.

“I have always felt that if you score 350 runs in the first innings then you are always in the game. If you don’t achieve that then you are always catching up with the game,” he said. “The success we had overseas in the past, the key was that we put the runs on the board. Then we won that battle, and then you went and got those wickets as well.”

Following their tour of England, India will play a home series against the West Indies before heading to Australia. Khan noted that India need to familiarise themselves with the Kookaburra ball well in advance so that they aren’t given any major surprises while playing in the Land Down Under.

“With the Duke ball, you can get away with not using the new ball well, as it can start swinging after 10 or 15 overs, as opposed to the Kookaburra ball which goes dead in the same time,” he said. “In a Test match, it’s always about knowing when to attack and when to hold on and wait for the right moment to come on.”

Khan added that he has become sick and tired of the constant speculation over whether head coach Duncan Fletcher will keep his job after every series. India recently appointed former captain Ravi Shastri as their director of cricket for the upcoming ODI series against England. Shastri wasted no time in showing his authority as he told bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney to take a break during the ODI series. Since then he has called up Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and Ramakrishnan Sridhar as their replacements.

“You can have all kind of support staff, they are there to help you, to guide you, but at the end of the day the responsibility is of the individual to make sure that they contribute,” Khan said.

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