The appointment of Zaheer Khan as team India’s bowling coach created quite a stir in the cricketing world. Not because he does not have enough credentials in terms of formal coaching but because it was simply not expected. Zaheer, who has been India’s pace spearhead for nearly a decade had recently retired from international cricket. But hardly anyone expected to bag the role of a bowling coach.
While Zaheer may not have experience in coaching what he does have is a wealth of experience. Known as one of the best Indian fast bowlers, Zaheer took 311 wickets in 92 Test matches that he played. In ODIs, he picked up 269 wickets. He also had a phenomenal World Cup campaign in 2011 and led India to its second World Cup triumph.
But what made him stand apart was his ability to use the ball judiciously in conditions – both suitable and unsuitable for seam and swing. He was widely known as one of the best exponents of swing bowling and was also regarded a thinking bowler by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Few bowlers in the history of Indian cricket had more control on their craft as Zaheer Khan and if he can pass on the knowledge and wisdom to the current crop then Indian pace bowling will benefit a lot. The likes of Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav have been bowling well but the experience of Zaheer Khan will only add to their developments heading into the 2019 World Cup. Even youngsters such as Mohammed Siraj and Basil Thampi who are waiting in the wings, if given a chance will have a lot to learn from the experienced Zaheer.
It may be recalled here that Zaheer had expressed keenness in donning the role of India’s bowling coach. “I haven’t really planned that far ahead. But in terms of keenness, yes, the keenness is there. It is something that I have done throughout my playing career also. If there is someone who wants my advice, I have always been there for them.”, he told in an interview.