Always enjoyed mentoring youngsters: Zak
Colombo, July 27: With a bunch of youngsters around him, Zaheer Khan is now India’s sole experienced campaigner in the bowling department. Not only has he performed his role with aplomb, but has played a significant role in mentoring the young fast bowlers in the team.
Ahead of the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Zaheer spoke about how he handles this responsibility and maintains his fitness for various formats of cricket.
How difficult is it adapting to different formats?
It’s tough but in the end, it’s all in the mind. You approach every format differently. Twenty20 is much more dynamic and you need to prepare differently for it. The preparations are completely different for ODIs and Tests.
How do you maintain your fitness levels?
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. For me, it’s worked well when I’m bowling more and more overs. Hence, with 10 Test matches coming at home, this series becomes all the more important.
In the absence of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, is there more pressure on you as the sole senior bowler in the team?
It’s an added responsibility on me and 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. Earlier, I had the luxury of having Kumble and Bhajji 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.
Is mentoring the young pacers also a part of your responsibility?
It has always been and it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s good to see guys like Umesh Yadav, Ashoke Dinda and Varun Aaron bowling at a 140-plus speed. That’s what you need to do as a youngster. Later on, as you gain experience, you learn the tricks of the trade.
With the series levelled, this is an important match.
We’re excited about this challenge of this game. We’re looking forward to go 2-1 up in the series now and gain the momentum and finish the series here itself.