Zaheer Khan is perhaps looking at uncertain future. Crippled by repeated injuries, India's pace veteran wants to fix his body before targeting a return to international cricket. His absence from Irani Trophy starting February 6 almost certainly rules the 34-year-old Mumbai veteran from the series against Australia. Zaheer was dropped for the Nagpur Test against England.
The fire to play for the country again still remains in Zaheer. In an interview to PuneMirror, the quickie said: "I still want to go out there and do things for the country. I still have plenty of things to offer. That's my faith. I have had that kind of faith in my ability and that's what drives me to try and make a comeback."
But age and repeated injuries have certainly taken their toll. Yet, Zaheer wants to play for another three-four years at the highest level. "If you look at greats like Kapil Dev, Glenn McGrath, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, they played till 39-40 years. It's about making sure you are there at par with the competition. The bottom line is performance," he said.
Zaheer's performances in 2012 have been not been great. In five Test matches, he picked up only seven wickets, with a best of 2 for 59. His haul from 5 ODIs has been a paltry four. The younger workforce of Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and more recently, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has only given more options to the selectors.
"Well, the competition is always there. It's good to see the talent coming up. It was heartening to see the way they played in the England (ODI) series and we won that series. There have been lots of good bowling performances. You just have to do things that are in your control," said Zaheer.
Stalwarts like Akram reckon it won't be easy for Zaheer to make a comeback. And the Indian speedster has no great plans, either. "I don't want to jump the gun. The long-term picture is on my mind. I definitely have a lot of cricket left in me. I need to figure out things," Zaheer said.
Test cricket will remain Zaheer's priority and 2015 World Cup is a long shot. But like several top quickies, handicapped by injuries, Zaheer may even opt for the shortest (T20) and more lucrative version of the game.