Ishant Sharma reveals the earliest advice Zaheer Khan gave him in his career

Apart from being a genius with the ball, Zaheer was also a great leader of the pack.

Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma
Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

If you’re an Indian cricket fan of a certain vintage, you’d know the importance of 07 October. For, it was on this very day when one of the greatest left-arm pacers was born: Zaheer Khan. And, it was exactly 19 years ago today, that Khan announced himself to the world when he bamboozled former Australian skipper Steve Waugh with a rip-snorter of a yorker. It was also the game where another left-hander (Yuvraj Singh) announced his arrival with a stylish and match-winning 84 in his very first innings.

Zaheer was the soul of Indian bowling. In an era where bowlers came and went regularly, Khan was a constant. While he had a precocious pace and a great Yorker, as the years went by, Khan went one to become one of the shrewd customers with the ball. His mastery over his skills, his game-plans, his set-ups was a joy to watch. Who can forget that knuckleball he bowled to Michael Hussey in the 2011 World Cup Quarter-final or that reverse-swinging yorker to Andrew Strauss or those four sixes that he smoked against Henry Olonga back in 2000.


Ishant Sharma posts a heartfelt birthday wish for Zaheer

Apart from being a genius with the ball, Zaheer was also a great leader of the pack. And the fact that MS Dhoni used to refer to him as ‘Sachin Tendulkar of bowling’, speaks volumes about how he led the attack with utmost precision. One of the current Indian bowling stalwarts, Ishant Sharma burst into the International set-up back in 2007 when Zak was at his peak.

Ishant has always mentioned how bowling with Zaheer did a world of good to him. So, on the occasion of his mentor’s birthday, Ishant took to Twitter to not only wish Zaheer but also share one of the earliest advice Khan gave him.

Ishant wrote, ‘At the very start of my career, Zak pa told me something that has been with me till date. He said, ‘Fast bowling is 70 percent fitness and 30 percent skills’. I have lived by those words right through my career and even today! Happy birthday, mentor! God bless you!’