Stuart Broad inspired by Zaheer Khan's mastery in variations
The early morning session on Day 4 of the Vizag Test proved to be a fruitful one for England, with Stuart Broad slicing through the Indian batting line-up, making very productive use o the leg-cutter to trouble the Indians considerably.
Broad bowled eight overs in his first spell in the morning and picked up two vital wickets for 27 runs to provide early honours for the visitors and he did so, despite having had scans on his foot the previous day.
Revealing the secret behind the variations that he employed on Sunday, Broad revealed that a conversation with former India pacer Zaheer Khan during England’s visit to India in 2012 helped him bowl better on subcontinental wickets.
"Leg-cutters probably have been quite a good ball for me probably for three to four years. It helped bowling on an old pitch. I felt the pitch was a bit worn, with a some variable bounce. I was able to use the cutters a bit more. It makes the inswing and reverse swing more dangerous.
"I remember Zaheer Khan was very good at it, bowling slightly off pace, and then really surprise you with a quick inswinger. That's something Jimmy and I talked about. Try to get batsmen bowl at slightly slow pace, then hit with a quicker pace at the stumps. Jimmy did that to Pujara. That seems to be the plan and it helped on a wearing pitch,” Broad said after the end of play on Day 4.
After having begun his career as a tearaway quick, Zaheer evolved himself into a much more crafty operator towards the second phase of his career, banking more on his variations rather than raw pace and along with the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma etc, was a key component in India becoming World No.1 in 2009.
His stint at county side Worcestershire, where he played in 2006, certainly helped him become a better bowler and he rightfully served as the spearhead of the Indian fast bowling group for 2-3 years until injuries and fitness issues saw him being dropped.
A later come back in 2013 saw Zaheer bring all his experience into play, but he once again sustained an injury in the 2014 Indian Premier League, which put him out of the game again and it eventually put an end to his career.