'Young pacers' emergence good for Indian cricket'
Itching to attain peak fitness ahead of the tough tour of Australia later this year, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan reckons the emergence of youngsters like Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bodes well for Indian cricket.
Yadav caught the eye of many during India's one-day series against England and the subsequent first Test against the West Indies and equally impressive was Aaron in the ODIs, and their efforts did not escape Zaheer's attention.
"It is a positive sign for Indian cricket. I was watching the morning session (of day 2 of the first Test against West Indies) and it was heartening to see Umesh bowl in that channel. They have the pace," Zaheer said.
Image: Varun Aaron
'I have never been part of a full tour of Australia'
Training with his Mumbai Ranji Trophy teammates for the past few couple of weeks, Zaheer said his immediate aim was to regain 100 per cent fitness, following which he will take a call on which match he would play in the top domestic tournament.
"I have not yet decided but I will take a call on that very soon. I am trying to regain 100 per cent fitness. I have doing full session and will take a call in consultation with the physio at the National Cricket Academy," he said.
Mumbai are scheduled to play Karnataka from November 17, followed by matches against Orissa from November 29 and Saurashtra from December 6, and Zaheer is likely to play in at least one of the three matches to prove his fitness ahead of the Indian team's departure for Australia on December 13.
Troubled by various injuries for a major part of his career, the left-arm seamer said that he wants to be part of the Indian team in Australia from start to finish.
"I have never been part of a full tour of Australia, so I want to play the full tour this time around," Zaheer said.
Image: Zaheer Khan
'The emphasis is on bowling'
Zaheer broke down after bowling only 13.3 overs, during which he picked up two wickets, in the Lord's Test against England in July.
Troubled by a recurrent hamstring strain, Zaheer also underwent a surgery in England for an ankle impingement on his right foot.
He was on crutches for some time following the surgery, but later improved to be able to bowl at the nets.
"The emphasis is on bowling. I have been bowling for about two weeks. I am feeling good, and I am only building up (towards match fitness)," the 33-year-old said.
Asked about the hype around Sachin Tendulkar's impending hundredth international century, Zaheer said the fans expect nothing less than a century whenever the champion batsman walks out to bat.
"You always expect a century from Sachin. He will score, but the question is when," he said.
Image: Zaheer Khan