Mumbai:The overs-specific 2.5-minute strategic breaks for batting as well as fielding sides in the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting on March 12 would be interesting to watch, feels India pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.
"It would be interesting as we all have seen in the last IPL that soon after the break a wicket falls. It's good that the option to call it lies with the (fielding side) captain. It can definitely change the momentum," said Zaheer, who is to play for Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians outfit.
The IPL Governing Council has said the strategic breaks are mandatory for the fielding side between the sixth and eighth overs and by the batting side between the 11th and 15th overs during the 45-day, eight-team T20 event.
The left arm pacer, who missed the three-match ODI home series against South Africa last month after picking a leg muscle injury in the second Test at Kolkata, on Wednesday said that early breakthroughs are very important.
"It's important to get early breakthroughs during the Power Play between overs one and six and that's the reason all teams are opting for good fast bowlers," he said.
Zaheer, who said his current injury was minor and nothing in comparison to what he picked up earlier in his career, was optimistic that MI would go all the way this year after failing to make the semi-finals in 2008 and 2009.
"Why only 14, I want to play all 16 matches (including the semi-final and final apart from the home and away league games). I love playing cricket," Zaheer said, when asked about the heavy travelling involved not only this year but next year when 10 teams are going to be in the fray.
On his leg injury, the speedster said it was frustrating as it prevented him from bowling in the second innings of the Kolkata Test against South Africa that India won to square the rubber.
"I knew it was not serious, it was just frustrating because I could not bowl in the second innings.
"I had a few sessions with the NCA physios in Mumbai. My brother was getting married and he was happy that I was at home. It was not a serious injury. It was important that I did not aggravate it. It was probably Grade I muscle tear of the quadriceps," he elaborated.
"I have dealt with bigger injuries. I was not worried about this. All I had to do was put in the required work and I will be okay," he added.
Looking ahead to MI's lung opener at the Cricket Club of India here against inaugural edition champions Rajasthan Royals, coached and captained by leg spin legend Shane Warne, Zaheer said there was a big buzz in the team.
"It's the first game of IPL 3 for us and Rajasthan Royals. So everyone is upbeat and excited," Zaheer said.
The 32-year-old was happy to open the bowling with sling-arm action pacer Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka.
"I have played with him (Lasith Malinga) in the last IPL. I had to opt out of the competition halfway through because of an injury. It was good bowling in tandem with him. The first six overs are very crucial. It's good to have someone like him and improve the chances of getting an early breakthrough," he said.
Zaheer was excited about MI's new signing Kieren Pollard, whom the franchise bought in the auction for USD 750,000.
"I am looking forward to meet him in person and play with him in the Mumbai Indians team. Hope he brings in lots of luck and help us win many matches," he remarked smiling.
"He's really developed. He is a hard hitter of the ball and a genuine talent."
Zaheer said he was not thinking of next year's IPL when the auction process would be re-started for most of the players but was concentrating on IPL 3.
"IPL 4 is a year away. We have played two seasons of IPL and players are prepared for what's going to come and the challenges of travelling and playing many matches. With experience we are prepared now to deal with it."
Zaheer said once a player performs well the franchises would make a beeline to hire him.
"As cricketers we just look to perform and make use of all the opportunities. If you do well you are going to be recognised and lot of franchises will be after you. The bottom line is you have to perform and focus on your cricket.
"I guess every IPL is important because one wants his team to do well and end up on the winning side. As a cricketer I am just looking at it as an important tournament," he explained.
About concerns over security in the wake of the Pune blast, Zaheer said he was happy to see that all the foreign players are coming to take part.
"I am happy that all the players are taking part in the IPL 3. This is very positive in the matter of security."
Zaheer said it was good to play on home wickets with the IPL being staged in India after a year's gap when it shifted temporarily to South Africa.
"The par score is going to be different in India. We are excited that we don't have to travel out of the country for the IPL which was not the case the last time. It's always good to play at home," he remarked.