The sight of a young Indian left-arm fast bowler, making just his second ODI appearance in October 2000, shattering Steve Waugh’s stumps off with a toe-crushing yorker in an ICC KnockOut Trophy match made for heady viewing. It was a crucial moment in the game, one that gave India the decisive thrust towards victory while signalling the arrival of Zaheer Khan on the international circuit.
For the next couple of years, Zaheer had a good run in international cricket and formed a formidable opening bowling pair with Javagal Srinath. But injury and a subsequent slump in form saw Zaheer going out of favour with the selectors between 2004 and 2006.
But things changed for the left-arm paceman in late 2006. Recalled for the tour to South Africa, Zaheer put in a creditable showing even though India squandered a 1-0 lead to lose the three-match Test series. Bowling from a shortened run up with an ability to reverse swing the ball, Zaheer now looked a most potent force. With figures of 9-134, he next bowled India to a famous seven-wicket win against England at Trent Bridge in July 2007. This victory set up a famous 1-0 Test series win for the visitors after 20 years in old Blighty.
In the last few years, Zaheer’s controlled pace and aggression have given India an option with the new ball that they’ve seldom had in the post-Kapil era. Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa have all been at the receiving end of his versatility with the cricket ball. The challenge now for Zaheer is to continue to flourish for his team despite ever-lurking injuries.
|Test debut||v Bangladesh, Dhaka, Nov 10, 2000|
|ODI debut||v Kenya,Nairobi Gym, Oct 03, 2000|
|T20I debut||v South Africa, Johannesburg, Dec 01, 2006|
|IPL debut||Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders, Bangalore, Apr 18, 2008|
|CLT20 debut||Mumbai Indians v Lions, Johannesburg, Sep 10, 2010|