Zaheer Khan, currently on the second phase of his recovery from injury, has been following the ongoing Test series closely on television. And the pacer has been extremely pleased with everything he has witnessed. Speaking to The Indian Express, Zaheer throws some light on the rise of Ishant Sharma and explains just why India’s pace battery has come into its own in England. Excerpts.
On India’s bowlers
I am very happy with the way we have exploited England’s conditions. You have to make sure that you bowl in the right areas and pitch it up and I think we have been exceptional at that, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) in particular. He has constantly bowled in that corridor of uncertainty, which is what has helped him get so many wickets. And in England, you have to keep thinking wickets, that’s what works.
On pitches in England
When your captain is also the opening batsman and he’s not getting runs, the host team will always go safe and make sure that he gets the right kind of wickets. But obviously it hasn’t worked for them.
On Ishant Sharma
He is the senior bowler in the team right now. I think that the added responsibility has helped him. It’s been a while that everyone has been asking him to step up and he has always been keen on doing that. Everyone takes their own time, to discover that freedom to express themselves on the field. This tour has been the perfect opportunity and he’s made the most of it.
On playing 5 specialist bowlers
The Lord’s wicket was perfect to play five bowlers on. I really appreciate MS Dhoni for coming in at No. 6 and taking that extra responsibility. In overseas conditions, if you have an extra seamer it takes the pressure off and your main bowlers can stay intact otherwise your main bowlers also end up doing the containing job and eventually it is going to catch up.
On rotation policy
I have always felt that if I am in good rhythm, I want to play as much as possible so I’don’t see it as a reason or a mandatory thing to do. Unless you have some niggle or something and the physio has been advising rest then you should listen to them. But if a bowler is in form he should bowl more.
On reasons for pace success
For Bhuvi, it is his control over swing that stands out because he uses the conditions well. Shami’s seam positioning is very impressive, which helps him exploit favourable conditions even more and get that extra bounce also. For Ishant, it is the ability to keep running in that is his strength. That is something he has done consistently irrespective of how things are going on the field.
On his injury
I have not started bowling so that is how things stand right now. I set myself high standards and if I am matching those standards then I will comeback.