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To play at the highest level my body must cope with bowling pressure: Zaheer Khan

Injured left-arm pacer says his return to Indian team depends on rehabilitation

The side strain suffered during the last Indian Premier League has left Zaheer Khan (35) pondering about his future.

Zaheer Khan during the launch of his new fitness venture at a Lower Parel hotel yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande
Zaheer Khan during the launch of his new fitness venture at a Lower Parel hotel yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande 

Even as 'Zak' underwent rehabilitation in London and at Bangalore's National Cricket Academy following the injury in May, several critics which also included his first coach Sudhir Naik almost ruled out the senior pacer's chances of making an India comeback after the pacer was not picked for the ongoing England tour.

Although Zaheer is confident that his career is not over yet, the left-arm pacer is unclear as far as his return to the Indian team is concerned. "It is always tough to deal with injuries.

These questions (comeback to international cricket) keep coming up and at this stage, they are a little more. But I am not thinking about all that (comeback). I am just focused on things on hand right now.

"I have set high standards for myself. To play at the highest level, I have to see whether my body is coping with bowling pressure and whether it is ready to deal with that kind of pressure. There is a lot of uncertainty right now.

"Firstly, I have to see how my bowling rehab goes. Things will be only clearer when I start bowling again in matches," Zaheer told mid-day on the sidelines of the launch of his fitness and physiotherapy venture Pro Sport yesterday.

Zaheer made a successful comeback earlier to international cricket last December after being out of action for a year due to fitness issues. Just when everything looked well for Zaheer, he suffered another injury blow playing for Mumbai Indians.

'Injuries are frustrating'
The latest injury was definitely a huge blow for Zaheer as it crushed his England plans. "Injuries are frustrating. They put all your plans out of the window. I have dealt with it in the past. There are some things that are beyond your control.

Did retirement thoughts cross his mind? "Never. At the moment, my only focus is to deal with the injury. I am aiming (for a return) at Champions League T20. So, playing more matches will be crucial for me," said Zaheer.

The idea of his new fitness venture emerged from his experiences with injuries over the years. "I had my share of injuries and I have learnt a lot from them.

Every time I got injured, I had to go abroad to work on my fitness. I thought why not have a similar set up in India? The challenge was to get the right team. I am glad to have Andrew Leipus (former Team India physiotherapist) and Adrian Le Roux (former Team India trainer) to help me," Zaheer signed off.

8
The number of Tests Zaheer Khan needs to achieve the 100-match landmark  

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