New Delhi: Iconic Sachin Tendulkar and limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni yesterday led the bandwagon of former and current cricketers praising Zaheer Khan, who ended his international career yesterday.
The 37-year-old Zaheer decided to call time on his international career with immediate effect but will be bidding adieu to the domestic circuit at the end IPL's season 9 next year.
"One of the coolest pace bowlers I know. He was a bowler who could 'out think' the batsman most of the times. Always up for a challenge...I am sure he will do well as he begins a new chapter in his life. Wishing @ImZaheer all success in his retired life," Tendulkar tweeted.
India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said it would have been tough to make the side successful without the pacer's presence in the dressing room. "Well done ZAK on a fantastic career.without U it wd hve been very difficult to achieve what the ICT did.most clever fast bowler I know...Life has just started now,U still can and definitely will contribute a lot to Indian Cricket.wish U all the success," he tweeted.
Also lauding the pacer was Test captain Virat Kohli, who called Zaheer an inspiration. "To a great fast bowler & an even greater person, I wish you luck in all future endeavours @ImZaheer bhai. You have inspired many like me," he said. Zaheer's teammates Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh also tweeted their good wishes for the bowler.
"My go-to man. Perfect gentleman. Big Brother.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who is always credited for backing Zaheer in the early part of his career, said that the left-arm pacer took the right decision. "He had called me this morning. He will play IPL. He's 37 and it's not a surprise. He was a great bowler for India. It's absolutely right decision. I don't think they would have picked him, so he had to go," said Ganguly.
Zaheer's friend and one-time colleague Harbhajan Singh also wished the "fighter" on his retirement. "He will do well if you give him opportunities, he's a fighter," said Bhajji. "What a bowler mr khan and supper dildar yar. God bless you my brother. Love you zakiiiiiiiii @ImZaheer @BCCI," added Harbhajan.
And a legend in his own right. Good luck for your new innings @ImZaheer Wonderful to know u," said Raina.
Former batsman VVS Laxman said he felt honoured to have been a part of the side, which had Zaheer."Congrats @ImZaheer on an outstanding career. Was a pleasure playing with u.Will always cherish the gr8 time we had while playing for Ind???," he said.
Former India pacer Irfan Pathan said, "Congratulations 4 great career Khan Saab @ImZaheer I'm sure there is lot in u 2 give back 2 Indian cricket in the future. #legend."
Zaheer's Mumbai Indians teammate Rohit Sharma said he 'enjoyed every spell' bowled by the seamer. "Enjoyed every spell u've bowled whether it's from slips or on TV! Great competitor, super human & most importantly a great friend. Happy retirement @ImZaheer," he tweeted.
Calling him a 'king' and his 'favorite', South African pacer Dale Steyn tweeted, "Zak ur a king Bud! Loved playing with and against u! Congrats on a marvelous career, always a favorite of mine!"
Kris Srikkanth, Chairman of Selection Committee when India won the World Cup in 2011 where Zaheer was a key member, applauded his contribution to Indian cricket. "Hi Zak ur contribution to INDIAN CRICKET has been fantastic. good luck on ur retirement @ImZaheer," he tweeted.
Tributes also came in from other sportspersons other than cricketers with doubles Badminton star Jwala Gutta congratulating the left-armer for a 'fantastic career'. "Congratulations on a fantastic cricketing career @ImZaheer and good luck for your future ahead," she said.