Bangalore, May 26: So what is the secret of Zaheer Khan's consistent performance as India's premier fast bowler? If the left-arm fast bowler is to be believed then it was his stint with English county side Worcestershire that taught him the finer nuances of fast bowling.
It can be recollected that Zaheer, who was dropped from the Indian team in 2006 following a string of poor performances and fitness issues, resurrected his career after a stint with Worcestershire. He had topped the Division Two wickets tally taking 78 wickets in 16 games.
He was quoted by GQIndia.com as saying, "In many ways it was [the turning point]. The stint at Worcestershire helped me understand the game, why I am playing and other things in terms of preparations for matches and bowling on different kinds of wickets."
He added, "It was really important for me to play at the highest level, and to get back into the Indian side. I always knew I had the potential to perform but somehow I was not able to deliver. It was a great learning curve."
His county stint gave back to India a bowler with immense potential ready to lead the attack, who was otherwise appearing to be lost to the rigours of international cricket. Since his return from the county stint, he has been the backbone of the Indian bowling attack and scripted many a victories for his team.
After the retirement of Anil Kumble, it is the success of Zaheer Khan that has played a vital role in India's ascent to top of the Test rankings.
Informing that he has advised a lot of young Indian bowlers to play county cricket to improve their skill, he said, "I was advising all the young bowlers, like Ishant. When you are at home, in many ways you are taken care of. But when you play a county season you have to do everything yourself and still be prepared for the game. That brings in a great sense of professionalism."
He went on to add, "You also get a great understanding of cultures, and that definitely improves your social skills since you are out of your comfort zone. That itself is a great learning for any person, not just a cricketer."