Playing the striker in Royals Challengers Bangalore's football game, Zaheer Khan kept close to the rival goalmouth, constantly demanding the ball. Although the minimum movement reminded one of former Brazil striker Ronaldo, it was also a reminder that the India pace spearhead needs to preserve his body to keep going.
The hero of India's World Cup triumph, the man who could conjure up a breakthough whenever his skipper wanted, Zaheer has been below his best in this IPL season.
While the Mumbai Indians have climbed to the top of the charts on Lasith Malinga's pace, swing and wickets, the RCB are languishing in the table, hoping their main pace weapon will find the mark.
RCB's South African coach, Ray Jennings, knows the value of an in-form Zaheer, and is hoping the left-arm bowler will come to the party in Tuesday's clash against the Delhi Daredevils.
“His form is a concern,” Jennings told reporters on Monday. “He is the type of bowler who can wake up tomorrow and give us four-five wickets.”Zaheer, perhaps off the World Cup high, has taken just five wickets in four games so far. Three of them came in the defeat against the Deccan Chargers.
His four overs went for 53 runs against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens last week, although Chris Gayle made it a no-contest in the end with his whirlwind century.
The Ferozshah Kotla pitch for Tuesday's game will be the same where Daredevils won the high-scoring battle against the Kings XI Punjab. But the Royal Challengers will be hoping that the real striker will stand up and deliver early breakthroughs.