Zaheer Khan has confirmed that he will be retiring from international cricket with immediate effect as he feels his body can no longer cope up with the rigours of bowling long spells. The 37-year-old, however, added that he will continue playing domestic cricket until the next edition of the Indian Premier League.
IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla had, earlier in the day, revealed on his official Twitter account that the Maharashtra-born cricketer was set to announce his retirement and Zaheer himself has confirmed the same with a Facebook post explaining the reasons behind the decision.
“The toughest call in a cricketing career is when one has to walk away from the game itself. You almost 'will' yourself and want to push that few, extra miles but then the body, after nearly two decades, decides not to respond. As I was training for the upcoming season, it dawned on me that my shoulder may not last the rigours of bowling nearly eighteen overs a day, and that's when I knew it was time,” the post read.
“With immediate effect, I bid adieu to my career in international cricket. I look forward to signing off my last season in domestic cricket at the conclusion of Indian Premier League season 9.” Zaheer, who turned 37 on October 7, is serving as a player-cum-bowling-coach of the Delhi Daredevils franchise in the IPL.
With 92 Tests, 200 ODIs and 17 T20s to his name, Zaheer was one of India’s greatest match-winners with the ball and he looked back fondly at where it all started for him as a cricketer, sharing quite a funny moment he enjoyed with his father.
“As a kid from a small town Shrirampur, I gave up a career in engineering to pursue bowling. My parents backed that decision and every decision since! My dad, I distinctly remember said, 'Engineers toh bahut saare hein tu bowler hi ban na!"
As an architect of many famous Indian victories, including playing a stellar role in India’s 1-0 Test series triumph in England in 2007, picking up 18 wickets in three matches, singled out the 2011 World Cup triumph in their own backyard as his career highlight.
“My greatest cricketing moment was lifting the World Cup as part of team India and creating history. We played as a top team and being part of the journey of India as a top ODI side was very fulfilling,” Zaheer said.
He also recalled how India being on top of the Test rankings gave him immense satisfaction as a lover of the longer format of the game.
“As a young fast bowler who grew up watching the legends of the game, I remember the satisfaction and joy to win a Test match for India. Winning ways are addictive and I thoroughly enjoyed sporting the whites for India as we emerged as the No 1 Test playing nation in the world,” he added.
Here is Zaheer’s retirement post in full as posted on his official Twitter account.