Pace bowler Zaheer Khan has announced his retirement from international cricket.
“I bid adieu to my career in international cricket. I look forward to signing off with IPL 9,” said the veteran fast bowler on twitter on Thursday afternoon.
“As I was training for the upcoming season, it dawned on me that my shoulder may not last the rigours of bowling nearly eighteen overs a day, and that’s when I knew it was time…” said Zaheer in a sign-off note that he posted on twitter.
“With immediate effect I bid adieu to my career in international cricket. I look forward to signing off my last season in domestic cricket with the conclusion of Indian Premier League season 9,” Zaheer added.
An emotional Zaheer thanked a lot of people including his fans, well-wishers, family, co-players and coaches. He also remembered the best moments of his career including the World Cup victory in 2011 where he picked up 21 wickets.
He signed off his goodbye note by saying, “‘Zak is back’ is perhaps a headline that may come my way again, as I have every intention of giving back to this game and our wonderful country which gave this kid from Shrirampur the opportunity to chase and live his dream.”
37-year-old Zaheer Khan has played 92 Test matches, 200 ODIs and 17 T20 Internationals.
In the last 3-4 years Zaheer suffered recurrent injuries which took a toll on his body and thus he has been in and out of Team India.
“You don’t have any control over them (injuries) 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 in Mumbai.
In the 92 Test matches Zaheer played, he has taken 311 wickets, which makes him the fourth highest wicket-taker from India in the longer form of the game. Only Anil Kumble (619 wkts), Kapil Dev (434 wkts) and Harbhajan Singh (417 wkts) precede him.
“I spoke to Sachin (Tendulkar), Ajit (Agarkar), Ashish (Nehra), my family. I spoke to everyone before I announced – right from Yuvraj Singh to Bhajji, (VVS) Laxman, Anil (Kumble). I spoke to (Javagal) Srinath, as well. We had a very good laugh and he was pushing me to play for another year and I told him you know how fast bowlers are and he finally agreed with me,” said Zaheer in Mumbai.
Wishes poured in for Zaheer from the cricketing community, especially some of his co-players.
“One of the coolest pace bowlers I know. He was a bowler who could ‘out think’ the batsman most of the times. Always up for a challenge…I am sure he will do well as he begins a new chapter in his life. Wishing @ImZaheer all success in his retired life,” tweeted Tendulkar in praise of Zaheer.
As of now, Zaheer is part of the Delhi Daredevils team in the Indian Premier League.
Earlier in the day Zaheer had intimated his decision to BCCI official Rajeev Shukla.
Shukla took to twitter to praise the pace bowler’s emphatic career.
“Zaheer Khan to announce his retirement today. My best wishes to him for post retirement carrier (sic),” Shukla tweeted.
“Hope Zaheer Khan will keep on playing IPL. Zaheer has been my most favourite bowler since 2002 when I was manager of team India on England tour,” Shukla said on twitter.
(With inputs from PTI)