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Zaheer hoping to make amends

Faisal Shariff in Multan | March 28, 2004 17:52 IST

A year ago Zaheer Khan was the beacon of hope for India's bowling. With Javagal Srinath fading away, the left-arm pacer was the spearhead of the Indian attack.

But today, after a two-month lay-off, he is struggling to regain his touch with the red cherry. So much so that the new ball is being given to rookies Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji.

After a mediocre outing in the one-day series, Zaheer is keen on making a mark in the Test series and grabbing back the new ball from the rookies.

"Any fast bowler would want to bowl with the new ball. I would love to get back the new ball, but I also realize that it is important for the new-ball bowler to get initial breakthroughs and I respect the team management's decision on that," he told

"Irfan's [Pathan] good showing is very god sign for Indian cricket," he added.

Keen on performing well in the Tests, Zaheer has put in extra hours in the nets, fighting to get his control back.

"This one-day series has helped me get close to my fitness levels and given me the confidence to bowl 20 overs a day," he said.

"This series is special and, yes, it has been very difficult for me to come out of injury and fire straight away. I just think I need to bowl more and more."

Despite his own form worrying him, Zaheer takes a lot of confidence from the way the team fought back in the one-day series from 1-2 down and emerged triumphant.

He said he is aware of the adjustments he would have to make on the subcontinental wickets after playing on the bouncy tracks of Australia.

"Wickets in Australia have far higher bounce. Here we will have to hit the deck harder because the bounce is lower and accordingly also adjust our length to worry the batsmen." 

For India to succeed in the Test series against Pakistan, Zaheer needs to find his form and regain the mantle of strike bowler.

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