Zaheer Khan: The bowler cricket loved back

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Zaheer Khan’s biggest achievements will be hitting the winning runs in Natwest Trophy final and winning the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. He was a vital cog in the playing eleven during the 2011 world cup. Specially, he was the one who changed the game in team India’s favour with incisive bowling against England.

But how does he actually do against other seamers that have played for this country ? Let us make a comparison based on stats with the other stalwarts that has represented India at the senior level across both the formats.

ODIs Overall:

Bowler Name Matches Wickets Average
Zaheer Khan 200 282 29.43
Venkatesh Prasad 161 196 32.30
Javagal Srinath 229 315 28.08
Ashish Nehra 120 157 31.72
Kapil Dev 225 253 27.45

 

Tests Overall:

Bowler Name Matches Wickets Average
Zaheer Khan 92 311 32.94
Venkatesh Prasad 33 96 35
Javagal Srinath 67 236 30.49
Ashish Nehra 17 44 42.40
Kapil Dev 131 434 29.64

 

Although stats do not show the true matter of fact, it shows to an extent that Zaheer Khan is the best left arm pace bowler India has produced and one among the best pace bowlers across both the formats. Zaheer Khan is comparable to Srinath and Kapil in terms of the wickets taken and their bowling averages. Although Kapil Dev had a better average among the top 5 bowlers, ‘Zak’ is not too back. There is also a difference in the era they played. Taking nothing away from Kapil Dev, but during those times players where more inclined towards the bowlers but now with the change in rules and adhering the game towards the batsmen, the game has been tough for the bowlers. Zaheer is way better than Ashish Nehra or Venkatesh Prasad over both the formats, and would be rated in the top 3 pacers India has produced and rightly so.

In the end Zaheer Khan hangs up his boots, with his head held high and in an attempt to believe himself it was a good journey. The fans loved him, so did the critics. From being an engineering dropout to Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2008, the lanky pacer has in all respects had a good journey through the jungle of cricket. People nowadays talk about him being overweight and being injured but in hindsight, the fans still feel the void created by his absence. He breaks partnerships at crucial intervals, lifts the team up with inspiring spells, swings the old ball in the longer format and the last but not the least he makes some of the best batsmen in the world his bunny. Zaheer Khan played in 3 World Cups and was the highest wicket taker in all 3 of them. That was how good ‘Zak’ was.

These things are unique. Unique to the one and only ‘Zak’ as we call him. Adios ‘Zak’ the fans will miss you, but the good things won’t last. Will they ?