Thursday, June 11, 2009

Zaheer is definitely a match winner

India fast bowler Zaheer Khan was more relieved than happy after his match-winning performance against Ireland, in Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Wednesday.

Zaheer Khan celebrates the wicket of Andrew White. (T20 World Cup Photo)The left-arm fast bowler injured his shoulder during the Indian Premier League and only made it back to the Indian team for the ICC World Twenty20 warm-up game against Pakistan.

Zaheer quashed all doubts his fitness with a magnificent performance with the ball against Ireland, claiming four for 19 in three overs to help India win by eight wickets.

"It was a narrow escape for me. It could have been worse. I was lucky to get away with just four weeks. I worked really hard on strengthening the shoulder and still some work needs to be done. The good thing is that there is nothing major, no danger to the shoulder which is a good thing. It could have been worse and I am happy to be back after just four weeks," Zaheer said on Wednesday.

It was at this very venue two years back that the left-armer had carried India to a famous in a Test match against England [Images].

And he admitted that he relishes bowling on this wicket, which offers the fast bowlers a bit of assistance.

"I really enjoy bowling in England especially this wicket. There is always something for fast bowlers here. It is one of things that you have favourites grounds, you have good memories of the ground and it helps you perform more and more on the ground," he said.

The 30-year-old said it is a big confidence booster to come up with a match-winning performance after coming back from an injury.

"It feels great. I am playing after a long time and I am enjoying every bit of it. This was the second game for me and it was important that I pick upsome wickets. I think wickets at any level boosts your confidence so I have definitely gained a lot of confidence from this performance," he said.

Zaheer also credited the Indian Premier League for helping the young Indian team take a big step forward in this format.

"It has definitely helped players. You see someone like Rohit Sharma [Images], the kind of form he is in. It is good that we have been playing Twenty20 format for the last five weeks coming into the Twenty20 World Cup. It has definitely helped us.

"As I said earlier playing IPL before the T20 World Cup definitely helped because we have been playing a lot of T20 games," he added.

He also revealed that he would be looking to get the dangerous Chris Gayle out early in their Super Eights match against West Indies on Friday.

"It will be good to take his wicket early because it will be helpful for the team. He is definitely a match winner. If we can get him out early it will be a great help for Team India," said Zaheer.

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