Had no control on injuries, proud of comebacks: Zaheer

Injuries hampered his career all through but Indian pacer Zaheer Khan, who announced his retirement today, said he always took the setbacks in his stride and is proud of the fact that he made successful comebacks time and again.

The 37-year-old Zaheer, whose career was ravaged by injuries including a shoulder injury in the 2014 IPL that signalled the start of an end to his playing time, said injuries were part and parcel of the game.

“You don’t have any control over them and it’s something you take in stride and that’s what I have done all through my career. I always have been saying… You can only control the controllables and if you are injured you can’t do anything about it and have to move on. The fact I have been making comebacks and responding to injuries (rehabilitation) well is something which I am really proud of,” Zaheer told PTI here.

The bowler, who announced his retirement today, said cutting short his run-up during his stint with English county team Worcestershire benefitted him a lot as he became a better bowler with more control.

“…If you look at my career — the initial part and post-county part since I cut short my run up and which I always wanted to do. But because I always was playing with the Indian team, I could not do it at that point. When I got off from the Indian team I used that time to cut short my run up and the county season was the season I cut it short,” the left-arm pacer said.

“The fact was I needed to do some new things and that’s what I could do in Worcestershire (in 2006). When you are playing regularly with the international team you cannot try new things.

“My line and length got better and I got better control because of the number of overs I bowled there. Plus the conditions helped swing bowling which was an added advantage. I could explore that as well. Distinctly it (county stint) helped,” said Zaheer who celebrated his 37th birthday on October 7.

Zaheer, who captured 311 wickets in 92 Tests and 282 wickets in ODIs, did not see his inability to reach the coveted landmark of a century of Tests as a small setback in his career which he said personally was highly satisfactory.

“Not really, the way my career has been right throughout I was never really looking at chasing a particular no, but yes 100 Tests is something special, but I was taking a game at a time,” said Zaheer.

“The whole journey was amazing and I am proud of the fact that I started the journey from Shrirampur (in Maharashtra, his birth place) and then in Mumbai from National Cricket Club (of former India opener Sudhir Naik). I reached where I have reached today is something I am really proud of,” said Zaheer, who is one of the craftiest bowlers of his era.