Having made a remarkable comeback to the Indian Test side, Zaheer Khan has been praised by another left-arm pacer, Chaminda Vaas for his comeback. The Sri Lankan great is sure that Zaheer would do well in South Africa in the upcoming series in December.
“When I saw him a couple of years back, I thought he was going to finish his cricket. His fitness and bowling were not up to the mark, but he is a strong and determined lad,” Vaas told DNA in Mumbai.
“I have seen his recent pictures. He has lost a lot of weight and is keen to get back into the team and perform. He knows his abilities and knows what is expected from him. Being a fast bowler, you need to be patient and in the mean time handle pressure and perform well in international cricket,” said Vaas.
“He has proved himself everywhere. He has done well on English and South African pitches. The conditions in South Africa will be seamer-friendly and I am sure he is going to do well for India there.”
Vaas, who will turn 40 in January next year, thinks that 35-year-old Zaheer still has a lot left in him to do well in international cricket despite being in late 30s.
“It is only in the subcontinent that we look at age. When you are past 32, people think his cricket is finished while players from other countries play Test cricket till 35-36. In Australia, some start at 32. If you have proper fitness and are keen to perform, then age is not a barrier and you will do well for the country. Sir Richard Hadlee played for New Zealand till the age of 40. If fit and performing extremely well, then why not?
“I feel Zaheer can play international cricket for another two to three years. I feel he has a lot of cricket left in him and I wish him all the best,” said Vaas.
Vaas, who like Zaheer, played a lot of county cricket in his career, stressed the importance of playing in the England domestic league for youngsters these days.
“It’s not easy for a fast bowler. Out of seven days, you play six days a week for six months. There are 16 four-day games, 12 pro-40 matches and then 12 Twenty20 ties. It a great experience playing. It’s not easy to pick up wickets. You have to be patient and bowl from one side and take wickets. To realise how important county cricket is, I would want every player to play at least one season,” he added.