The Indian Premier League (IPL) has often been seen as a source of injuries. Be it Andrew Flintoff of England or India’s Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag, the grind of the Twenty20 event has affected them all.
With numerous foreign cricketers participating in the tournament, cricket boards have often expressed concern over their key players getting injured in this cash-rich event.
And the anxiety is more pronounced this time around as the ICC World T20 starts just six days after the IPL-3 final on April 25.
While almost all of India’s 30 World Twenty20 probables will participate in IPL-3, focus will be on Zaheer Khan, who will be making a comeback after a leg muscle injury in the Kolkata Test against South Africa last month ruled him out of the subsequent ODI series. On Wednesday, however, he quelled all fitness concerns.
“The Kolkata injury wasn't serious. I have suffered much bigger injuries, so this one didn't worry me at all.
“It was important that I didn't aggravate it and it was a welcome rest," Zaheer said after Mumbai Indians' light workout at the Cricket Club of India.
Besides being the bowling spearhead, Zaheer will act as Sachin Tendulkar’s deputy in IPL-3.
Though he has been the unofficial bowling captain of the Indian team for a while now, this is the first time he has been appointed vice-captain of a major team.
Zaheer, who has been leading one of the two teams during Mumbai Indians’ warm-up games over the last week, said he was enjoying the challenge.
“I am enjoying the responsibility. I am at a stage in my career where I look forward to something new and this is something new. I am enjoying it and I am happy with how things are going right now,” he said.
Zaheer also welcomed the amended strategy break rule for IPL-3. “It helps to change the momentum because sometimes when the batting team is going after the bowlers, it is good to get together,” he said.
“Twenty20 cricket is so dynamic with the teams rushing in the overs, so the two-and-half-minute break will help to regroup. It will help the captain to bring the team back on track.”