Zaheer calls time on international cricket career

Mumbai, Oct 15 (IANS) Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan announced his retirement from international cricket on Thursday due to a shoulder injury that proved to be the latest setback in his efforts to return to action.

The 37-year-old ended his 14-year long international career due to a series of injuries, the latest being a shoulder complaint. He made his India debut in 2000 and played his last game for the country in 2014 against New Zealand at Wellington.

He is leaving the stage after playing in 92 Tests and 200 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), picking up 282 and 311 wickets, respectively. He also claimed 17 wickets in as many T20 internationals.

The Shrirampur-born quick is India’s fourth highest wicket-taker in Tests after spin legend Anil Kumble (619), pace king Kapil Dev (434) and veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (417). He picked 282 wickets in 200 ODIs he played, besides 17 scalps from as many Twenty20s and was the joint highest wicket-taker in the 2011 World Cup along with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, claiming 21 wickets at an average of 18.76.

He will however call time on his domestic career after the conclusion on the 2016 Indian Premier league (IPL 9). Zaheer played for Delhi Daredevils in the 2015 IPL and for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.

“With immediate effect, I bid adieu to my career in international cricket. I look forward to signing off my last season in domestic cricket at the conclusion of Indian Premier League season 9,” Zaheer wrote in a statement on Thursday.

“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.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) paid rich tributes to the fast bowler.

“The BCCI appreciates Zaheer Khan’s outstanding service to Indian Cricket. He served Indian cricket with remarkable passion and commitment. Being a fast bowler in the Indian sub continent is challenging but he led the bowling attack with distinction and contributed significantly to the success of Indian cricket .I wish him all the best for the future,” Shashank Manohar, BCCI president said in a statement on Thursday.

“Zaheer will go down as one of the finest fast bowler in the history of Indian cricket. He has been the leader of Indian fast bowlers in the last decade or so and of the best exponent of reverse swing in the country. He has been an outstanding role model on and off the field for Indian cricket. Zaheer has been of the key reasons for India’s success over the last fifteen years. I congratulate him on his wonderful career,” Anurag Thakur, BCCI secretary, said.

“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,” batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said on Twitter.

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