India best left hand seamer Zaheer Khan who was an expert in swinging with the new ball and reverse swinging with the old ball has announced his retirement from international and first-class cricket. Zak has 610 international wickets in his kitty and finishes as one of India’s most successful bowlers, being the fourth-highest wicket-taker for India across formats. He has the second-highest wickets tally – 311 – for an India seamer in Tests, behind Kapil Dev’s 434. Zaheer, though, played few international matches in recent years after being dogged by injuries. While his final Test was against New Zealand in Wellington early last year, his last ODI was more than three years ago, against Sri Lanka in Pallekele. He ends his international career with 92 Tests, 200 ODIs and 17 T20Is to his name.
ZAHEER KHAN IS THE BEST LEFT ARM FAST BOWLER INDIA HAS EVER PRODUCED
In a statement, Zaheer thanked his team-mates in the various sides he played for, and said his greatest moment was winning the World Cup in 2011. “Cricket has been my only life over the past two decades and is in fact the only thing I know well. Cricket has made me the individual that I am, giving me everything in life and much more. I walk away with fantastic memories, life-defining experiences and great friendships. My mother summarised it well in reaction to my decision: “Theek hain, bahut acchha safar tha hamara” (fair enough, I had a wonderful journey).
The 37-year-old aggressive left arm pacer, who has played 92 Test matches, 200 ODIs and 17 T20 Internationals, however decided to be part of domestic cricket until the next Indian Premier League season. “With immediate effect, I bid adieu to my career in international cricket. I look forward to signing off my last season in domestic cricket at the conclusion of Indian Premier League season 9,” he wrote.
ZAHEER KHAN ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT VIA FACEBOOK POST AND TWITTER TWEET
— zaheer khan (@ImZaheer) October 15, 2015
TWITTER REACTIONS OF FAMOUS PERSONALITIES, FANS, NEWS PORTALS TO ZAHEER KHANS RETIREMENT
— Mohammad Kaif (@KaifSays) October 15, 2015
— Firstpost (@firstpost) October 15, 2015
— India Abroad (@indiaabroad) October 15, 2015
Amongst the top 3 Ind fast bowlers of all time & without doubt d best Ind left-arm seamer ever. Wish u an even better 2nd inngs #ZaheerKhan
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) October 15, 2015
One of the coolest pace bowlers I know. He was a bowler who could ‘out think’ the batsman most of the times. Always up for a challenge (1/2)
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 15, 2015
Well done ZAK on a fantastic career.without U it wd hve been very difficult to achieve what the ICT did.most clever fast bowler I know
— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) October 15, 2015
My go-to man. Perfect gentleman. Big Brother. And a legend in his own right. Good luck for your new innings @ImZaheer Wonderful to know u
— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) October 15, 2015
— ICC (@ICC) October 15, 2015
FIVE BEST BOWLING PERFORMANCES OF ZAHEER KHAN
2000 ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY
Veteran Australian batsman Steve Waugh could only see the ball disturbing the bails. The ball, without hitting the ground, crashed straight into the stumps. Zaheer Khan, with the wicket, had picked up the second wicket of the quarterfinal clash between India and Australia in the 2000 ICC knock out Championships in Nairobi. Zaheer had already sent Adam Gilchrist walking back and finished with match figures of 10-0-40-2. Zaheer was the most economical bowler against the world beaters and his spells helped Sourav Ganguly-led team knock the champions out of the tournament.
Zaheer broke into the international scene and demanded attention with those seven wickets he took in the tournament which helped his team progress to the final stages of the tournament.
INDIA VS NEW ZEALAND WORLD CUP 2003 SUPER SIX MATCH
New Zealand were already two down after the first three balls of the 2003 World Cup super six clash at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. Macmillan flicked Zaheer’s second ball straight to Harbhajan at backward square leg. The left-armer swung the next ball into Nathan Astle to hit his pads thereby scalping two wickets in his first over.
The kiwis were never able to recover from the early stutter and were eventually bundled out for 146 runs. Zaheer had two more victims- Brendon McCullum and Chris Harris – in the match. Ganguly’s men chased the target in 40 overs and snatched a seven-wicket victory.
INDIA TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND 2002-03
Having lost the first Test against the hosts New Zealand, India were looking to level the two-match series in the second clash. After winning the toss, Fleming put India into bat to see his bowlers rattle the visitors’ top-order. Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey took four wickets each and nine of the 11 Indian batsmen walked back with single-digit scores.
In reply, New Zealand were able to make only 94, five less than India’s first innings total. Zaheer made full use of the conditions to clean up the Kiwi top-order and ended up with five wickets in the innings. But, a dismal performance with the bat in the second innings saw New Zealand winning the match, thereby winning the series 2-0.
2007 INDIA TOUR OF England
Zaheer’s high point came in the 2007 India’s tour to England. Being the spearhead once again, the pacer helped skipper Rahul Dravid earn a famous 1-0 series win.
Zaheer’s seam presentation was top-notch and he went on to trouble the England batsmen at their own backyard with swing bowling. Zaheer picked up four wickets in the first innings and five in the second to help India win the Test by seven wickets. India went on to draw the third Test and clinched the series. With 18 wickets in three matches, Zak was the highest wicket taker in the series.
2011 WORLD CUP
At 33, Zaheer was India’s bowling spearhead during India’s successful 2011 World Cup campaign at home. With 21 wickets, he was second on the list of leading wicket-takers of the tournament.
The left-arm bowler got his captain crucial breakthroughs whenever he was brought into the attack. Skipper MS Dhoni preferred using Zaheer with the old ball as the veteran bowler was troubling opposition batsmen with his reverse swing.
Zaheer, realizing the nature of subcontinent tracks, widened his range with slower balls, off cutters and was effective in implementing them. With one such off cutter, Zaheer disrupted the stumps and got the crucial wicket of Michael Hussey in the quarterfinals against the then defending champions Australia. His performance against West Indies in the group B encounter was masterclass as he troubled the batsmen with both pace and variations.