Former India speedster Zaheer Khan has a great record in South Africa, having picked up 30 wickets from eight Test matches. Moreover, his bowling figures of 4/88 in Johannesburg 2013, and 3/36 in Durban 2010 are two of the best spells by an Indian pacer in South Africa as well.
Before the first Test between India and South Africa on Sunday, he feels that the pitches in the country will test the Indian pace bowlers as well.
“When you are playing in Johannesburg, you have the challenge of adjusting to the altitude (1,753 m). That’s one challenge every bowler has to face. The high altitude tests your fitness. Apart from that, fast bowlers really enjoy bowling in SA because there is always something in their pitches for them right through the Test. I am sure our bowlers will relish the challenge,” Zaheer Khan told Hindustan Times.
The former India cricketer asserted that Mohammed Shami is a ‘game-changing bowler’, saying his success gives him immense joy.
Incidentally, Shami’s first tour of South Africa was Zaheer Khan’s last, where the former left-arm pace bowler had mentored the young pacer from Bengal in 2013. Eight years later, Shami is leading India’s pace bowling attack.
In fact, the last time India toured South Africa, Shami had grabbed a five-for, finishing with 5/28, and played an important role in his team’s only win of the Test series as well.
“Watching his success gives me a great high. His journey has been fantastic; in fact, all Indian pacers have developed into fine bowlers. Shami has got a terrific record and is one of the leaders of the pack. The best part about him is that he provides crucial breakthroughs at crucial times,” added Zaheer Khan.
“He is a game-changing bowler. I have always judged myself as well as other bowlers on the ability to prise out 2-3 important wickets in a spell that can potentially change the game. Shami has that ability. Not surprisingly, he is an important part of our world-class pace attack,” concluded Zaheer Khan.
Mohammed Shami, who returns to international cricket after a significant break, will look to hit the strides in the three-match Test series against the Proteas which kicks off on December 26 in Centurion.