Ever since BCCI decided not to renew Bharath Arun’s contract, former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan is seen as the potential candidate to replace him as team India’s bowling coach. One of the greatest pacers ever to don the Indian jersey, Zaheer spearheaded the pace department for over a decade before bidding adieu to the game a couple of years ago. The left-arm was recently in Chennai for the launch of Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). In an interaction with the media, Zaheer spoke on various topics ranging from the importance of TNPL, his chances of becoming Team India’s bowling coach,on current pacers and much more.
On the importance of TNPL for Tamil Nadu players:
I believe TNPL is a good platform for the youngsters to showcase their talent. The franchise owners of other leagues as well will be keeping an eye on the ones who do well in this competition.
On whether he would look to include good performers from TNPL in the Delhi Daredevils team:
(Laughs) Of course, it’s (selection) an administrative decision as there are rules and processes and if someone does well, then why not – since a good talent never goes unnoticed.
On Mohammad Shami’s comeback and whether he should be preserved for the longer format:
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 the time to recover from the injury and it’s nice to see him in a 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.
On taking the role of India’s bowling coach :
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. 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.
On whether having a bowler as a coach changes the approach of the team:
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.
On James Anderson crediting him for his success in reverse swing:
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.
On who has impressed him the most among the current pacers:
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.