Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Zak of all trades!

Nothing is more annoying right now in Indian cricket than the shoulder of Zaheer Khan. Well, except for the Indian team itself, nothing is more annoying. Clearly, the performance of team India in the recent past shows how much we need Zaheer. Now that he announced his retirement, we know we are doomed. We should start our SESI (Search for Eternal Seamer in India).

The generation I belong to would have started watching cricket feverishly from the 2003 one day cricket world cup. Of course, that is the tournament which set stage for the introduction of this mighty bowler. That match versus New Zealand at the Supersport park in Centurion, when the might of Astle, McMillan and McCullum fell like dried leaves, clueless to Zaheer's seam. His unending injuries did not stop him from being the prime bowler for India whenever he played. As Akash Chopra writes, the period between 2007-2012 has been his best, when he picked all his 'man of match' and 'man of the tournament' awards in test cricket.
Even though Yuvraj played his part and picked a lot of man of the match awards and eventually the player of the tournament award in the 2011 one day world cup, there is little doubt in who played the crucial part with the ball. The match India played against England in Bengaluru in the tournament is the best example. He came back in his second spell only to turn around the entire match. Even though the match ended as a tie, the fact that India managed to not lose is because of him. Of course, his great role in the world cup final, probably the most important match for any player is inordinate.

That ZAHEER'S celebration!!
The reason behind the title of the article is definitely his batting. The Indian tail is never strong. For eons, the average Indian fan switched off the television once the sixth wicket fell. It was in that match, against New Zealand in early 2003 that Zaheer proved that even when eight wickets are down, tail enders can win matches, that too with neat, big hits. Zak as been there, supporting Sachin, as the batting legend made his highest test score. Zaheer's monumental 75 helped Sachin achieve this feat. The present Indian bowlers should probably go to Zak for tips in batting too maybe.

There is no doubt about the huge influence Zaheer has, on Indian cricket. Sadly, it has been hazy, thanks to his body, his injuries. He definitely deserves a better farewell, but everyone knows that had he been healthy, he will always be the prime bowler for India, ever. His farewell suggestion to young bowlers to bowl as fast as they can when they are young needs to be pondered upon. Indian cricket can use this 'engineer's' services to cricket somehow or the other in future too.

Its time for Viru now