“The first phase of my rehab program went off pretty well. I have started with the second phase of my rehab. I will be soon going to the National Cricket Academy. My progress has been slow but an optimistic one,” Zaheer told media persons after receiving the Arjuna Award from sports minister Ajay Maken at latter’s residence.
The Indian pace bowler could not attend the awards function at the Rashtrapathi Bhawan on August 29, as he was recovering from his ankle surgery. Zaheer, who will turn 33 this Saturday, said that he is taking one day at a time and not trying to rush his return. “To start bowling, I have to get back the full strength in my ankle. Then I might play a few club matches or first-class matches. I am taking one day at a time and not setting any targets.”
Zaheer does not want to set forth any specified date when asked whether he is eyeingIndia’s cricket tour of Australia for making a comeback. “I have not decided on any date but I will be back very soon. It’s frustrating not to play at the highest level. But you can only control the controllable and be patient.” He is not getting any younger but the over dependence on him by the team management at least in the long run has always urged him to do well.
“It always acts as an enthusiasm that your team needs you. I don’t think the over-dependence on me adds to any pressure rather it feels good to go to sleep with this kind of expectation. Hopefully, I will be back soon to play that role again.”
Having played alongside Harbhajan Singh for the past decade, Zaheer is hoping well that the out-of-form off-spinner will come back with a bang. “Harbhajan has had great performances for the country. I am sure that he will be back soon as he is too good a player to be left out. He has a lot of fire in him and he is a strong character,” he said. He also praises theIndia’s new crop of bowlers like Umesh Yadav and Sreenath Aravind who had been chosen in the team for the first two one-day matches against England.
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