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Oct 03, 2011 at 08:51pm IST

Recovery slow, but on track: Zaheer

New Delhi: India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan said that his recovery post-ankle surgery has been "slow but positive" and he has not set any time-frame for making his international comeback.

Zaheer picked up the injury during the recent England tour, which ruled him out of the entire series. The left-arm pacer had bowled only 13.3 overs in the first Test at Lord's last month because of a strained hamstring, before injuring his ankle.

"The first phase of my rehab programme went off pretty well. I have started with the second phase of my rehab. I will be soon going to the National Cricket Academy. I am going by what my body is telling me. My progress has been slow but a positive one," Zaheer told mediapersons after receiving the Arjuna Award from Sports Minister Ajay Maken at latter's residence on Monday.

Recovery slow, but on track: Zaheer

Zaheer was injured during the recent England tour, which ruled him out of the entire series.

The Indian speedster could not attend the awards function at the Rashtrapathi Bhawan on August 29 as he was recuperating from his ankle surgery.

Zaheer rated his Arjuna Award as a "great achievement".

"It is a great achievement to come from a place like Shrirampur and reach here," the bowler from Maharashtra said.

Zaheer, who will turn 33 this Saturday, said that he is taking it one day at a time and not trying to rush his comeback.

"To start bowling, I have to get back the full strength in my ankle. Then I might play a few club matches or first-class matches. I am taking it one day at a time and not setting any targets."

Zaheer did not want to commit on any specified date when asked whether he was eyeing India's cricket tour of Australia for making a comeback.

"I have not decided on any date but I will be back very soon. It's frustrating not to play at the highest level. But I have to take things in my stride and do things that are in my control and have patience."

He is not getting any younger, but the overdependance on him by the team management at least in the longer versions has always spurred him to do well.

"It always acts as a motivation that your team needs you. I don't think the over-dependance on me adds to any pressure, rather it feels good to go to sleep with this kind of expectation. Hopefully, I will be back soon to play that role again."

Having played alongside Harbhajan Singh for the past decade, Zaheer reckoned that the out-of-form off-spinner will come back with a bang.

"Harbhajan has had great performances for the country. I am sure that he will be back soon as he is too good a player to be left out. He has a lot of fire in him and he is a strong character," he said.

He was all praise for India's new crop of bowlers like Umesh Yadav and Sreenath Aravind, who have been selected in the team for the first two one-dayers against England.

"I haven't seen a lot of them but I have worked with Umesh when he was with the Indian team in South Africa. He is talented. Sreenath Aravind has had a great IPL and will only improve."

When asked about his opinion on former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar's autobiography 'Controversially Yours' where he has made some disparaging remarks on Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer replied, "It's a waste of time to discuss such things as everyone knows what's the truth."

Zaheer also didn't support the idea of players being allowed to doctor the ball.

"In sub-continent, the conditions are such that it starts reversing. You don't need to do any such thing," he added.

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