Rated as one of the finest seam bowlers India have ever produced, Zaheer Khan was a name who ruled the hearts of every cricket lover around the world during his illustrious 14-year-long career. From making his international debut under Sourav Ganguly, Zaheer successfully spearheaded India’s pace attack in all formats and guided the team to many memorable wins. He was a key member of India’s historic 2011 World Cup triumph as he scalped 21 wickets in the tournament, joint-highest along with Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi.
On Monday, wishes poured in from all corners of the cricketing world as Zaheer turned 41. For a country obsessed with its batting stalwarts and larger-than-life spin bowlers, Zaheer’s pace and ability to bowl Yorkers at will impressed. He proved himself as the true leader of the pack and helped the youngsters to pick up a skill or two from his wide knowledge base.
From former cricketers like VVS Laxman to Mohammad Kaif, to current stars including Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma – a hots of stars wished the legendary left-arm pacer on his special day.
Zaheer played 92 Test matches for India, in which he scalped 311 wickets with the best figures of 7/87. He also featured in 200 ODIs and picked up 282 wickets in them.
The Shrirampur-born pacer made his ODI debut for India in against Kenya during the ICC Knockout trophy in 2000 (October). He made his Test debut a month later against Bangladesh.
Zaheer is also India’s joint leading wicket-taker in ICC World Cup tournaments along with Javagal Srinath. He picked up 44 scalps in the three editions of WC – 2003, 2007 and 2011.