Zaheer Khan - The Unsung Hero during of Indian Cricket
Former Indian fast bowler, Zaheer Khan celebrates his 41st birthday today.
During his heydays, he was the backbone of the Indian bowling attack. One of the best left-arm bowlers produced by India, Khan was known to be an astute thinker of the game.
Indian cricket has always been dominated by batsmen, right from Sunil Gavaskar's era to the Virat Kohli era. It is the batsmen who always hog the limelight with bowlers rarely getting any recognition for their efforts.
It's always difficult for bowlers, especially fast bowler to make their mark while playing alongside such batting legends. Only a few of them go on to become legends of the game.
In Indian cricket, the likes of Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath have achieved this honour to inspire a whole lot of youngsters to take up fast bowling. Even Zaheer, who created an impact through his performances on the field, was one of the more popular bowlers during his peak.
The left-arm pacer made his international debut against Kenya in 2000. He represented India for almost 14 years playing over 300 games, before calling it a day in 2015.
Being a fast bowler, it is no denying that injuries are a part and parcel of the game. However, injuries weren't enough to deter his passion to play for the country. He was one of the major reasons why India started winning matches overseas under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly. Zaheer led India's attack outside Asia and produced some match winning spells.
We celebrate batsmen, their centuries, runs and partnerships, but it is the bowlers who fly under the radar and remain unnoticed. With 309 International appearances for India, Zaheer took 593 wickets, most by any Indian fast bowler in international cricket.
Zaheer was also leading wicket-taker for India in 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Cup. He played a vital role in lifting the World Cup at home in 2011.
His ability to think about his game helped him a great deal to attain success in his career. Zaheer even mentored youngsters while he was nearing the twilight in his career. The likes of Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, were hugely benefitted from his inputs.
As the fast bowler turns 41, we wish him all the success and hope to see him continue guiding the youngsters to take up this art of fast bowling.
Cover Image Credits: Highlights India