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Zaheer Khan believes one has to stay calm and show character to succeed in Test cricket

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Zaheer is presently commentating in the India-New Zealand Test series at home.

Zaheer Khan

Rahul Dravid has often said that it is the bowlers who play a major role in teams winning matches since they are the ones who have to take 20 wickets and ensure that a result is possible in Test matches.

It is an ideology that is supported by Virat Kohli as well, who also believes that whichever combination bowls teams out more often, that would be preferred for the game.

Zaheer Khan, one of India’s greatest fast bowlers and someone who groomed the likes of Ishant Sharma, puts emphasis on the aspect of remaining calm in the longer format and fighting it out in the middle for five days as a team.

“Look at this game. The first two days were evenly balanced. India scored 300-plus and New Zealand threatened to go past that total, but the bowlers pulled it back nicely.

“That’s what Test cricket is all about. How much you stay calm, what character you show as a team and as an individual over five days,” He told the Hindu.

The former pacer’s point of view does make sense in subcontinental conditions, where there is hardly any help for the quicks.

In order to be considered a great fast bowler of the game, one needs to prove one's self across conditions. Dale Steyn comes under that category, purely because of the success he has tasted everywhere in the world and Zaheer also feels the same, along with the fact that one had to deliver when it mattered the most.

“At the Test level it is about proving yourself in different conditions. For bowlers or batters, the challenge will be to be equipped to deal with the situations. Bowlers must produce wickets when they count.”

Often players are rated as good or bad based on their ability to either hit a textbook cover drive or bowl a lovely outswinger etc. But apart from these qualities, there are other facets like temperament, patience etc that also need to be given equal importance.

“It is a combination of temperament and skills. As I played more and more matches I would talk to more and more players. I would speak a lot to batsmen and observe the game because certain deliveries would work in particular situations.

“I would set short terms and sometimes they would not work. But it was a process that I followed. I never really paid much attention to the result.” “It is a combination of temperament and skills. As I played more and more matches I would talk to more and more players. I would speak a lot to batsmen and observe the game because certain deliveries would work in particular situations,” he said.

India will be a lot of Test cricket in the next 7-8 months and a lot of the aspects that Zaheer has spoken about will need to be shown by the bowlers against the likes of Joe Root, Steve Smith, David Warner, Alastair Cook etc since these guys are sure to test India in their own backyard.


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