Zaheer Khan on 'Mission 300' in South Africa

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Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 12:58 [IST]
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Recalling Zaheer Khan to the Indian Test squad is a good move by the selection committee headed by Sandeep Patil. The left-arm paceman's wealth of international experience will be very helpful for Team India in South Africa.

Zaheer is back in the Indian team after being ignored for 11 months. His last Test for India was in December against England in Kolkata.

Zaheer Khan on 'Mission 300' in SA

The 35-year-old, a veteran of 88 Tests, worked hard in the time away from international cricket. He moved to France along with Yuvraj Singh to train under renowned trainer Tim Exeter. That trip made him much stronger physically.

Both Zaheer and Yuvraj had said they trained under Exeter with an eye on making a comeback to the Indian team for 2015 World Cup.

While Yuvraj has won his spot back in the One Day International side, Zaheer was on Monday (November 25) picked for the two-Test series against South Africa next month.

When the first Test starts in Johannesburg on December 18, Zaheer will be on "Mission 300". The Mumbai fast bowler is five wickets away from reaching 300 milestone in Tests.

Currently, Zaheer is the fourth highest wicket-taker in Tests for India behind Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (413).

When Zaheer gets there in South Africa, it will a big achievement considering he will join Kapil as only the second Indian paceman in 300-wicket club.

Since making his debut in 2000 against Bangladesh, Zaheer has spearheaded Indian attack. In the recent past, he has mastered the art of using the old ball with good effect - read reverse swing.

Once again, he will be the leader of India's young pace attack. A man with 88 Test caps will be the guiding light for youngsters like Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.

Umesh was quick to speak on how Zaheer's presence is important. "Zaheer has had a great influence on youngsters with his ability to guide us through the bump and grind of international cricket. I have got a lot of valuable tips on fast bowling and there is no better exponent of reverse swing than Zak. He is like mentor to us and it is an honour to play international cricket alongside him," Umesh told PTI yesterday.

"Zaheer's advice in match situations are invaluable as he is a brilliant reader of opposition batsmen," he added.

With good form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy, Zaheer has forced his way back to international duty. He has taken 13 wickets for Mumbai in three games including a five-wicket haul.

Now, Team India will be hoping Zaheer continues his form in South Africa.


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