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‘Domestic or international, it’s always a test’

Zaheer Khan's approach to domestic cricket is no different from that to an international game. "I enjoy bowling in any type of condition. Depending on the conditions in Chennai, I will play accordingly," Zaheer said.

cricket Updated: Jan 03, 2009 01:07 IST
Chennai

Comparisons with former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram leave Zaheer Khan "flattered". Ahead of Sunday's Ranji Trophy semifinal against Saurashtra, the Indian pace spearhead said it was not easy bowling in the sub-continent.

"I am doing the right things by concentrating on my fitness and rhythm."

Fresh from the successful Test series against England in which he was named Man-of-the-Series with eight scalps at an impressive average of 21.00, Zaheer said he wanted to continue in a similar vein.

Zaheer missed a major part of the Australian Test series in December-January last due to a heel injury and returned to action during the Indian Premier League in April. Since his return to Test cricket in Sri Lanka, the speedster has taken 27 wickets in nine Tests, all in the sub-continent.

Speaking on his form, the 30-year-old left-arm seamer said, "I am bowling well at the moment and just want to keep going and maintain my rhythm."

Hit by frequent injuries in his nearly decade-long career, Zaheer said the idea of shortening his run up four years ago had worked wonders.

"There haven't been major changes as far as my bowling action is concerned.

“It's been four years since I cut my run up. It has helped me a lot in terms of getting to a fitness level and maintaining my line and length."

Zaheer returns to Chennai, the venue where he picked up five wickets (two in the first innings and three in the second) to set up a six-wicket victory against England less than three weeks ago. "I will be playing my second Ranji game for Mumbai and am looking forward to the semifinal.

“Looking at the team here, it is upbeat and I am hopeful of finishing the match on a good note," he said after his first nets with the team in two-and-a-half years.

It was in February 2006 that he made his debut for Mumbai in the final against Bengal and played a lead role with the ball to take them to their 37th title.

His approach to domestic cricket is no different from that to an international game. "I enjoy bowling in any type of condition. Depending on the conditions in Chennai, I will play accordingly."

Analysing Saurashtra's progress, he said, "They have done really well and that's what I have been hearing. I will not call them a weak side."