Although a year has passed since he retired from International cricket, Zaheer Khan has been in the thick of things with Delhi Daredevils as their coach. The ex-spearhead refused to rule out coaching the Indian bowling side while praising Mohammad Shami and Mitchell Starc.
Zaheer Khan was the fulcrum of the Indian pace attack, more so on the Test side, for well over a decade, and the void left by him has been hard to fill for India. However, the spearhead, widely recognized as arguably the most intelligent bowler to have played for India, has moved on to a coaching avatar. He coached the Delhi Daredevils side in the last IPL season – the side showed a lot of promise before losing their way towards the end.
In an exclusive to cricbuzz, Zaheer responded when asked if he was interested in taking up the Indian team bowling coach role saying, “I am right now focused on what I have on my plate. I am really focusing my energies on playing the next IPL season for Delhi Daredevils, and also on ProSport - a sports and fitness clinic. But, I am open to different roles and haven't thought about it (bowling coach role). However, if an opportunity arises, I will think about it.”
Zaheer also talked about how a bowler as the coach can influence a team's direction. “When you play the role of a coach, the responsibility is definitely bigger. A good coach is a good coach, whether he is a batsman or a bowler. Obviously, what counts is an experience at the international level. It's eventually up to the players to go out there and perform. A coach can do everything he can to prepare the players, and if he has got the exposure at the international level it definitely counts,” he said.
When asked about Mohammad Shami, and the decision to preserve him for Tests, Zaheer said, “I have always endorsed the theory that you play more games and across all formats. Once you bowl more, you tend to develop a bowling rhythm, and that's extremely important.
“In Shami's case, he took time to recover from the injury and it's nice to see him in good rhythm. Shami has always been a good talent. With regards to preserving him just for one format, I believe it's an individual's call as to how many matches he should play. When I was at the highest level, I preferred playing more matches all the time,” reported cricbuzz.
The legend recently came in for praise from one of the greatest bowlers of recent times, James Anderson. The English quick credited Zaheer, one of the best proponents of reverse swing in the last decade, for inspiring his swing bowling. Zaheer expressed his pleasure at the accolade and said, “I really appreciate his comment, though I have never personally interacted with him. Anderson has been a great bowler for England and has been someone who had the ability to swing the ball and proved his capabilities across the globe.”
The 37-year old also talked about the current lot of pacers and singled out Mitchell Starc as the most-impressive.
“Someone like Mitchell Starc (has been impressive), and is shaping up to be a bowler who could be a good Test and limited-overs bowler. He is someone who is delivering in all formats of the game. For me, a bowler at the highest level should have the ability to pick wickets in bunches, which changes the course of the game and Starc seems to be doing that well,” he concluded.