Zaheer Khan is as laid-back off the field, as he is hyperactive on it. And at the top of the list of things he likes to do when he’s not working, is ‘chilling out with friends’.
While most would think that the mounting pressure of the forthcoming World Cup would be taking a toll on his sleep, he is completely at ease. “I like that pressure. I look forward to go on the field with expectations from people. It’s a good feeling, a responsibility. And if you are able to perform at that highest level, the satisfaction you get is a different kind of high. It’s hard to explain,” says Khan.
Like most sports personalities-turned-stars in a country that follows cricket like a religion, Khan is well aware of the opportunities and fame that follow.
“Everyone enjoys recognition,” says Khan. “Who doesn’t like people coming up to them and saying ‘you bowled fantastically in the last over’, or ‘the wicket you took of Steve Waugh was amazing’? It makes you feel good, like you’re on the right track and are doing things for your country. It makes you feel proud of yourself and your achievements.”
Not many are aware of the fact that Khan owns a restaurant called ZK’s in Pune. After a successful six–year run, he plans to take it further. “It’s doing well, and we’re in the process of starting another brand in Pune. My younger brother looks after it,” he says, adding that as long as he’s playing cricket, he’d prefer to stick to Pune. “I obviously have plans of expanding it and there’s a project I have been working on, which I hope works out. But yes, Mumbai is in line at some point.”
Unlike Leander Paes, Ajay Jadeja and a lot of other sportspeople who don’t mind giving Bollywood a shot to secure their post-game future, Khan is very happy being a ‘foodie’, managing a restaurant and playing county cricket. “I am happy doing what I do. Cricket is my passion. I have never considered Bollywood,” says Khan, who recently got himself a subtle make-over by hairstylist Kanta Motwani, who used L’Oreal’s Professional Inoa hair colour on him. Following MS Dhoni’s footsteps? “I personally prefer short hair, but MS’s long hair looked great,” he says, laughing.