Thatscricket - News - Zaheer keen on getting match fit before Pak tour

Published: Saturday, February 21, 2004, 21:05 [IST]
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Zaheer keen on getting match fit before Pak tour
Saturday, February 21 2004 14:24 Hrs (IST)

Chennai:Even as the India cricket team prepares to embark on the historic tour of Pakistan, strike bowler Zaheer Khan kept his fingers crossed on his physical fitness but said the upcoming Duleep Trophy match would give him a chance to bounce back to his usual flow.

"Unless I bowl flat out from my usual long run up, I do not want to talk much about fitness. It is human body and no one can predict what is going to happen," said Zaheer Khan, who pulled out mid-way through the Australian series due to a hamstring injury.

The bowler said he would "test myself fully" in the Duleep Trophy match at Dharmashala next week.

"It is not that I am fully fit or half fit, I want to get to my usual full flow," the left-arm seamer said at the end of his two-hour session at the MRF Pace Foundation under the watchful eyes of former Australian bowling great Dennis Lillee.

"It is sort of a recovery process after my hamstring injury. I am building up slowly. Like, on Saturday I bowled with longer run ups and I feel more comfortable than what I felt last week." Asked as to when he would inform the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about his availability, he said, "Whatever is in my hand, I have spelt out."

About the wickets in Pakistan, Zaheer said, "they are not going to be any different (from the wickets in India)."

Former Indian pace bowler Javagal Srinath, who watched the left-arm seamer performing at the MRF Pace Foundation along with teammates Ashish Nehra, Laxmipathy Balaji and Irfan Pathan, said Zaheer is under a learning process since he was trying to get back to form after a lay-off.

"Fast bowling is hard. No bowler is injury free. Everyone has to go through it. How to get back to their usual form after an injury is a learning process," Srinath said. He said, "the pacers are all professionals and have a sense of commitment. They understand that they have got to be responsible. I have watched them bowl and had given few tips but I cannot say anything on their fitness, which they have to speak about."

Srinath believes a few tips from Lillee could augur well for the bowlers, who would be keen to prove themselves on the tour of Pakistan. "They are all in the right place and Dennis is the best person to teach on art of fast bowling. These four have shown great attitude all the time.

Zaheer is our number one bowler and Irfan is the new find and is an extremely exciting talent. He appears to be the best amongst the available youngsters." Srinath said.

Lillee had to suggest some adjustments to Zaheer on the last day of the training session on Friday. "Zaheer has no other problem excepting that he is jumpinga little higher, putting pressure on his body."

As for the other bowlers, Lillee was of the opinion that Balaji was pushing the ball while delivering it and he had "to go straight, and not turning his wrist. "Nehra has small technical problem and has been told a few things to reduce the chances of being injured.

"Irfan has few problems. He has to be worked on a long-term basis. We will wait and work on them. I do not want to confuse this youngster with too many things at a time." he said.

Lillee was an impressed man after the training session. "They are the cream of Indian bowlers. I find them to be good in putting the advise to good use."

On Srinath, the Australian said, "we have asked him to come down to Chennai. He has been in the foundation before even during his playing days. Srinath is a well-respected great fast bowler from India. His knowledge, experience and technique, all that combined will be an asset and help groom youngsters."

With the pacers, dominating the Indian bowling attack whether India was now into fast bowling era? "No. You are gaining on fast bowling, because of foundations like this. It helps you perform well on wickets overseas," he said.

'I am ready to help Pak-bound fast bowlers'

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