Farewell, Zak! Zaheer Khan's 5 greatest momentsZaheer Khan has announced his retirement from international cricket after a long innings of almost 15 years. The 37-year-old Zaheer made his debut for India in 2000 and last played for the country in the
Zaheer Khan has announced his retirement from international cricket after a long innings of almost 15 years. The 37-year-old Zaheer made his debut for India in 2000 and last played for the country in the Wellington Test against New Zealand in February 2014.
He ended with figures of 5/170 in the second innings of that Test, which ended in a draw after Brendon McCullum smashed a matchsaving triple century. It was Zaheer's 92nd Test and although he was keen to become only the second Indian fast bowler after Kapil Dev to play 100 Tests, an injury ended his dream.
Zaheer's ODI swansong had come earlier against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in August 2012. The match was his 200th appearance in the fifty over format.
There were plenty of highlights in such a lengthy career. Here are five of his greatest moments.
India vs England, 2007
Zaheer's finest performance for India came in the second Test at Nottingham on the tour of England in 2007. In the first innings, he took 4/59 as England were rolled over for 198 but the best was yet to come.
When he came in to bat, he found that the English players had placed some jelly beans on the pitch as a prank. Zaheer felt insulted and decided to take revenge with the ball, grabbing five more wickets in the second innings to finish with a match haul of 9/134.
India won the Test comfortably by seven wickets and took the series 1-0, their first series win in England in 21 years.
India vs Australia, 2010
The first Test in Mohali against Australia in the 2010-11 season is remembered more for VVS Laxman's heroics. India required just 216 for victory but slumped to 124/8 before Laxman shepherded India home by one wicket with an unbeaten 73.
But it was Zaheer Khan who had put India in a position to win the game with match figures of 8/137 including a five wicket haul in the first innings.
Despite Laxman's very very special knock, Zaheer won the Man of the Match award.
2011 World Cup
It's hard to pick one match from the 2011 World Cup that epitomised Zaheer's importance to the Indian team. He was consistently good right through the tournament, never going wicketless and taking 3 wickets in four different matches.
Zaheer ended as the leading wicket taker in the competition, along with Shahid Afridi, with a rich haul of 21 wickets.
In fact Zaheer is the leading wicket taker for India in World Cups with 44 wickets in all, a record he shares with Javagal Srinath. However, Zaheer achieved the feat in only 23 matches while Srinath required 34.
India vs Zimbabwe, 2000
Zaheer has been an underachiever with the bat. One of his best known contributions as a batsman was his 75 at No.11 against Bangladesh in the Dhaka Test of 2004-05. He and Sachin Tendulkar made merry with a stand of 133 for the last wicket.
In contrast, his swashbuckling effort against Zimbabwe in the Jodhpur ODI back in 2000/01 tends to be forgotten. Zaheer smashed an unbeaten 32 in 11 balls, including four successive sixes in the last over bowled by the hapless Henry Olonga. He plundered 25 runs in that over, still an Indian record, to help India reach a hefty 283.
Zaheer also bowled well with 1/46 in his ten overs but Zimbabwe managed to sneak home by one wicket with one ball to spare.
Worcestershire vs Essex, 2006
This last effort was not in an India shirt but it fully deserves to be on this list. In a county match at Chelmsford, Zaheer swung the ball prodigiously to claim the first nine wickets of the Essex innings.
In fact he should have got the tenth as well when No 11 batsman Darren Gough bottom edged a pull but wicket keeper Steven Davies dropped the chance.
Gough was eventually dismissed by Matt Mason and Zaheer missed out on the unprecedented feat of becoming the first Indian to take all ten wickets in an innings overseas.