Injuries are an inevitable fact of life in cricket or for that matter in any other sport. Games are being played with such a high intensity nowadays that the risk of injuries is also correspondingly higher. With a crowded schedule, the time to rest and rebuild is also scarce. Staying fit and competing in all three forms of cricket, therefore remains the biggest challenge that a modern cricketer faces.
Over the years, we have seen talented cricketers being plagued by injuries, thus limiting their career span. In the process, some really good players never realised their true potential. Some players have successfully managed their injuries and health issues, producing excellent match-winning performances whilst continuing to play at the highest level.
Here are five such exceptional players.
#1 Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan easily figures in the list of all-time successful fast bowlers. His ability to swing the new ball and generate reverse swing with the old ball in both subcontinent and overseas conditions remains second to none. He spearheaded India’s pace attack for more than a decade. He had a sharp quick bouncer and an accurate yorker which he used very effectively to rattle the opposition.
Khan was India’s answer to Wasim Akram, and when in full flow he looked like a craftsman par-excellence. Under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy, the left-arm bowler made rapid strides and remained India’s No 1 bowler around whom the bowling attack was built. He was key in winning the World Cup on home soil and for India to become the number one ranked side in Tests.
Fitness was Zaheer’s nemesis all throughout his career. A nagging shoulder also did not help his cause.
Zaheer managed his injuries well and often played through the pain and discomfort. There were a few occasions when his fitness caused him to leave halfway through a match, or have sub-par performances.
Nevertheless, Zaheer finished his test career with 311 wickets in 92 games and also took 282 ODI scalps, the second Indian fast bowler to have so many wickets to his name after the legendary Kapil Dev.