India has never been a land of left-arm seamers, but on 7th October 1978, India was blessed with a great fast bowler in the form of Zaheer Khan. He played all three formats for the nation between 2000 to 2014. Zaheer was the spearhead of the Indian bowling lineup after the 2003 World Cup. He could swing the ball both ways, his yorker was also pin-point. Zaheer has taken wickets irrespective of conditions, everywhere. Along with the stock deliveries, he mastered slower balls also. He was a Picasso of reverse swing. There are some facts about India’s best left-arm seamer that not many people are aware of. Let’s talk about those interesting facts.
30 Interesting Facts About Zaheer Khan
- Zaheer Khan was born to photographer father Bakthiyar Khan and teacher mother Zakia Khan in a small town called Shrirampur. He used to go to Hind Seva Mandal’s New Marathi primary school and afterward K.J.Somaiyya secondary school.
- Khan has two siblings Zeeshan and Anees.
- After School Zaheer was pursuing Mechanical engineering but his cricket coach Sudhir Naik advised him to focus on cricket, as he was very good at it.
- Zaheer Khan’s nicknames are “Zakky”, “Zip”, and “Zak”.
- The 5ft 11-inch tall fast bowler’s bowling idol was Wasim Akram.
- At the age of 17, Zaheer Khan played for the National Cricket Club in 1996 in A division club tournament. He took 7 for 74 in the final of the “Purushottam Shield” tournament against Shivaji Park Gymkhana. It put him into the limelight of the Mumbai Cricket arena. His incredible performance helped him to get into the U-19 side of Mumbai and gave him a chance to train under great Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation Chennai.
- Due to high competition in the Mumbai Ranji side, he made his first-class debut in 1999 for Baroda. He grabbed 35 wickets in 8 matches on his debut Ranji season.
- Zaheer Khan bagged a fifer (5/16) in the final of 2000/01 Rajni season against Railways, he returned with the 8 for 145 in the match and won the trophy for his team.
- Zaheer played his first ODI match against Kenya in the 2000 Champions Trophy (previously known as ICC Knockout Trophy). He had 3 scalps on his debut match (3/48, in 10 overs). He finished his ODI career with 282 wickets in 200 matches.
- Zaheer Khan was the leading wicket-taker for India in the 2003 World Cup. He took 18 wickets in 11 matches with an impressive average of 20.77. He was 4th highest wicket-taker in the World Cup overall. Although India lost the final to Australia.
- Zaheer Khan grabbed the joint most wickets along with Shahid Afridi in the 2011 World Cup, 21 wickets in 9 matches, averaging 18.76. He played a huge role in winning the World Cup for India.
- Once ex Indian skipper MS Dhoni said- “Zaheer Khan is the Sachin Tendulkar of the Indian bowling lineup”.
- Zak has taken the most number of wickets for India in the World Cup. He has had 44 scalps in 23 matches.
- Zaheer made his test debut against Bangladesh in 2000 in Dhaka. He grabbed 3 wickets in the match. Zaheer had a phenomenal test career. He is the 2nd Indian fast bowler to take 300 test wickets, Kapil Dev is the first pacer to do so.
- Zaheer Khan has bowled left-arm spin a few times in tests.
- Left-hand batsmen were Khan’s favorite. His consistency with the ball has dismissed the southpaws 237 times in international cricket. Only Muttiah Muralitharan and pace bowler Shaun Pollock have got left-handers more than Zaheer.
- Zaheer has got 11 fifers in tests and 5 out of 11 were grabbed outside of India.
- South African great Graeme Smith was his favorite batsman to bowl. He sent him pavilion 13 times in 25 matches in his career. Apart from him, Zaheer dismissed the best batsmen like Kumar Sangakara, Matthew Hayden, Sanath Jayasuriya at least 10 times.
- Zaheer Khan owned the record of scoring the highest run at No 11, 75 in 2004 against Bangladesh. He stitched 133 runs partnership along with Sachin Tendulkar for the tenth wicket. Later the record was broken by West Indies pacer Tino Best in 2012.
- Zaheer Khan got a fifer in his last ever international match against New Zealand. He took a fifer in the 2nd test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve, Wellington.
- Zaheer was one of the mainstays behind India’s test series win in England in 2007. Zaheer picked up 18 wickets and became the Man of the Series along with James Anderson. India had a victory in tests in England since 1986. In India’s victory match, khan took 9 wickets at Trent Bridge.
- The aggressive left-arm seamer introduced knuckleball in international cricket in the 2011 World Cup. He got the wickets of Paul Collingwood, Devon Smith, and Ian Bell with the magic ball.
- Former Indian President Srimati Pratibha Patil bestowed him the exalted “Arjuna Award” in 2011.
- Wisden honored him with the “Wisden Cricketer of the year” award in 2008 along with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ian Bell, Otis Gibson, and Ryan Sidebottom.
- Zaheer Khan played in the world’s most premium domestic cricket, English County cricket. Surrey and Worcestershire signed him in 2004 & 2006 respectively.
- Zaheer played for three IPL teams in his IPL career Royal Challengers Bangalore (2008, 2011-13), Mumbai Indians (2009-10 & 2014), and Delhi Daredevils (2015-17). Currently, he is the bowling consultant of the Mumbai Indians in IPL. In 100 IPL games, he got 102 wickets.
- Zaheer Khan’s jersey number was 34.
- Zaheer’s favorite non-cricketer sports person is Tennis star, Roger Federer.
- Zaheer Khan is a businessman also. He owns a restaurant in Pune called “ZK’s”. He is into the fitness industry also. Zak opened ProSport Fitness and services in Mumbai in 2014. The other co-founders of the gym are famous cricket physiotherapists Andrew Leipus and Adrian Le Roux.
- His estimated net worth is $33 million.
Zaheer Khan’s Career Stats