Colombo, Jul 31: India's pace spearhead, Zaheer Khan has been impressive against Sri Lanka, being the highest wicket-taker for India against them, who has been shouldering the responsibility of grooming youngsters in the absence of other senior bowlers has said that he enjoys mentoring youngsters.
Zaheer, aware of his responsibilities as he leads India's pace attack, says he has to work hard in order to get the crucial wickets at the start of the innings and when the team needs a breakthrough.
"I understand that I'll have to put in more work in terms of training and performance when it comes to getting those crucial breakthroughs," said Zaheer
Zaheer Khan has claimed 65 wickets against Sri Lanka in ODIs which is the most by any Indian, which clearly suggests he is at his best against The Islanders, and would look to increase his tally in the remaining two matches as well.
Zaheer, who had to manage it all alone after Anil Kumble's retirement, and in the absence of other senior bowlers like Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra, feels there is a need to put some extra effort in order to help youngsters and keep up the momentum with his performance.
"Earlier, I had the luxury of having Kumble and Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) with me at the other end. Now it's time that I put my hand up and be prepared to put in that extra work."
Further Zaheer was also acknowledged by his team mates for guiding them in the team. Zaheer also said that he enjoys mentoring them. Though Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda and Umesh Yadav bowl at 140-plus, they lack consistency and one feels there is something lacking in their bowling.
While Zaheer feels otherwise, as he said the youngsters have pace to back them for the time-being, as they gain experience, they would learn the tricks of the trade.
"Mentoring youngsters is a part of my responsibility and I've enjoyed it," said Zaheer. "It's good to see guys like Umesh (Yadav), Ashok (Dinda) and Varun (Aaron) bowling at 140-plus. That's what you need to do as a youngster. Later on, as you gain experience, you learn the tricks of the trade."
Zaheer Khan, though very impressive in the on-going series against Sri Lanka need to maintain his fitness for the rest of the season, as India are due to play 10 Test matches at home from August 2012 to March 2013.
The pacer, being an integral part of the side, including all the three formats as India are playing the T20 World Cup in September followed by a few home series against top teams, which suggest the necessity of Zaheer's fitness and his availability in the team.
While Zaheer feels he is currently playing at his best and has said since he is playing games, and bowling more, current series comes first while the performance in the ODI series would sure boost his confidence level in Tests as well and training keeps him fit.
"It's important that I'm bowling fit and stay in touch with the game. As you train in the gym and for your fitness, it is equally important to train with your skills and keep bowling overs," said Zaheer. "For me, it's worked well when I'm bowling more and more overs. Hence, with ten Test matches coming at home, this (ODIs in Sri Lanka) series becomes all the more important."