Zaheer Khan is well known for the ability to control any type of ball.
There are very less bowlers in global cricket who are known for the unique ability to move the ball both ways off the wicket and swing an old ball at pace. Zaheer Khan, the left-arm speedster of India, has the reputation for being the best on flat subcontinental pitches and in controlling different types of balls. A key player of India to orchestrate the ODI World Cup win of 2011 is still a top player in domestic circuits after years of his retirement from International cricket. Khan played 92 Tests, 200 ODIs and 17 T20I matches in his international career. In the longest format the pace bowler nicked 311 wickets, in ODI his tally is 282 and in 17 T20I matches, he took 17 wickets.
Lately, the former India pacer is foraying into his own venture. He created ProSport Fitness, which Khan launched with an innovative model in 2014. In a recent event in Mumbai the player scouted for investors to take care of the plans in the next three years. Presently, the company has two fitness centers in Mumbai. The company also signed up with Kanaria Group and A Club for gym management. In an interview, the player acknowledged the sudden and abrupt improvement of India’s pace bowling. He rightly mentioned that Indian bowlers has much exposure and the big stage is ready for fast bowlers.
Sudhir Naik had a special contribution in the making of Zaheer Khan.
Zaheer Khan was born in Maharashtra in October 1978. He was the second son of Bakhtiyar Khan and Zakia Khan. Young Zaheer started schooling in the New Marathi Primary school and later, he joined K.J. Somaiyya Secondary School in Shrirampur. In his early days, Zaheer played for the Revenue Colony Cricket Club in Shrirampur. By the age of 17, he was training under Sudhir Naik at the National Cricket Club in Cross Maidan in the year 1996. Naik has especial contribution in the making of Zaheer Khan.
When the player retired, Naik recalled the hardships Zaheer had to face as a young cricketer. He recalled, Zaheer was staying with his father’s aunt, who worked at Saifee Hospital. They shared a small room in the hospital and for the first seven to eight night, the young player did not even have a proper place to sleep. Zaheer used to sleep with a bedsheet and no pillow. Naik lamented, young Zaheer might have played a lot of matches without even breakfast. He preferred spending most of the times in the Academy and would go to the hospital only to sleep. Naik took him to Hemant Waingankar, who offered Zaheer a job for rupees 5000 a month. It was a great relieve for the child as Waingankar also bought him a full cricket kit and organized for him to stay at his guest house.
Zaheer Khan became a prominent bower in the world playing both domestic and international cricket.
Naik recalled that he had to stop Zaheer from bowling when the latter first arrived at the academy. His deliveries were so fast that Naik feared, he might injure a few batsmen. Although, he did not have line and length, his pace impressed the coach, who decided train him. It was when Naik also declared that Zaheer was worth investing in. Naik said that Zaheer was a very sincere and a quick learner. The cricketer’s father wanted Zaheer to pursue engineering like his elder brother, but Naik resisted. The coach guaranteed his father that he would play good level cricket and earn more than his brother.
Zaheer started playing for Baroda in Ranji Trophy. In 2000-01, at the tournament’s final match against Railways, the bowler nicked 5 wickets in the second innings and three wickets in the first. This match winning stance earned him the Man of the Match award. In 2005, Worcestershire Country Cricket Club in England got him onboard as a replacement of Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistani quick. In his debut match, Zaheer took three wickets for the team.
In 2017, Zaheer was appointed as the bowling consultant of Team India.
The cricketer debuted Test against Bangladesh in 2000. He also debuted ODI, in the same year against Kenya. In 2005, he was dropped from the team, but he was back in the same year. His career best ODI performance was after this second coming when he took 5 wickets for 42 runs. In world cup tournaments the player nicked 44 wickets from 2003 to 2011. Zaheer became one of the highest wicket takers at marquee events. The fast bowler retired from international and first-class cricket on 15 October 2015. In 2017, he was also appointed as the bowling consultant of Team India.