Even in the time of ODIs, cricket continues to be a game of patience. There are thrills on the big stage but just off it, some play the waiting game and still get rewarded.
Zaheer Khan is a good example. He lost his status of being a frontline bowler in the Indian pace attack rather dramatically after marching his way to stardom in the 2000 version of the Champions Trophy.
But keen to make the most of what must be the last few years of his career as an international cricketer, Zaheer (28), has worked hard on his fitness, which was questioned after the tour of Pakistan in February.
He said to HT during the Irani Trophy match in Nagpur earlier this month and that was interesting because not too many in the Indian cricket fraternity take uneasy questions objectively.
After checking his progress by playing for Worcestershire, he got a chance to impress the India selectors at the Challenger Trophy in Chennai. A trimmer Zaheer showed some rustiness there but the match in Nagpur just after that saw him bowl with some purpose.
Used in short spells by Rest of India skipper Wasim Jaffer, Zaheer played a big role in his team’s win over Uttar Pradesh.
Although he was not exactly incisive and continued to look a lot slower, Zaheer was rewarded for his consistency. He was landing the ball in the right area and playing the waiting game. Now that his wait his over, he must make this chance count because the likes of L Balaji, Ashish Nehra and a few others are also playing a similar waiting game.