One of India’s best left arm fast bowlers, Zaheer Khan, also known as ‘Zak’ by his team-mates, has decided to announce his retirement from all forms of international cricket. The 37-year-old, who has played 92 Test matches, 200 ODIs, and 17 T20 Internationals, has been in and out of the national team, in the last three to four years, due to recurring injuries, which have taken a toll on his body.
Zaheer’s absence saw the likes of young pacers like, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, taking over the fast bowling mantle. Taking this situation into consideration, it had becom hard for Zaheer to break into the team. Time was ripe for him to take a call on his International career. His retirement thus comes as a no surprise to critics and fans.
In 92 Test matches, Khan has taken 311 wickets, and is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the longer version amongst Indians, after Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434), and Harbhajan Singh (417). He played a major role in India’s 2011 ICC World Cup triumph, taking 21 wickets in the tournament.
In his 200 One-Day appearances, he bagged 282 scalps at an average of 29.43, and an economy rate of 4.93, including one five-wicket haul, and seven four-wicket spells. Khan took 17 wickets in T20s, along with a four-wicket haul, his best performance in the shortest format.
Khan made his Test debut against Bangladesh, at Dhaka, in November 2000, while his ODI debut was against Kenya in Nairobi, a month prior.
His last Test match for Team India was against New Zealand, at Wellington, in February last year, and he played his last T20, and ODI for India, three years ago.
According to media reports , Khan called up IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla to intimate his decision to hang his boots. “Zaheer khan to announce his retirement today My best wishes to him for post retirement carrier (sic),” Shukla tweeted.
Off late, Zaheer Khan, playing for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, has been struggling with a series of injuries, that had come in his way of staging a comeback into the national team.
In his announcement release, Zaheer said, “The toughest call in a cricketing career is when one has to walk away from the game itself. You almost ‘will’ yourself and want to push that few, extra miles but then the body, after nearly two decades, decides not to respond. As I was training for the upcoming season, it dawned on me that my shoulder may not last the rigours of bowling nearly eighteen overs a day, and that’s when I knew it was time…. With immediate effect, I bid adieu to my career in international cricket. I look forward to signing off my last season in domestic cricket at the conclusion of Indian Premier League season 9.”