Zaheer needs some more time to attain full fitness

Zaheer needs some more time to attain full fitness

"I have been bowling like this for almost two weeks. I bowled six overs. I am feeling good, but I am only building up (towards match fitness). I have some more time to go for that," the 33-year-old left-arm seamer said.

Zaheer broke down after bowling only 13.3 overs, in which he picked up two wickets, in the Lord's Test against England in July. Troubled by a recurrent hamstring strain, Zaheer also underwent a surgery in England for an ankle impingement on his right foot.

He was on crutches for some time following the surgery, but improved to be able to come back and bowl at the nets. The veteran of 79 Tests and 191 ODIs is targetting the Ranji Trophy to ease his way back into competitive cricket, though he's unable to say which match he would be able to play.

Zaheer's long-time Mumbai pace partner, Ajit Agarkar was impressed with the experienced bowler's progress. "He looked good. May not have gone flat out in all deliveries, but he looked better than what I expected him to be," said Agarkar.Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer and coach Sulakshan Kulkarni were also impressed with Zaheer's progress.

"I faced him in the nets today and he looked good. He's slowly building up (towards fitness) and I have also heard that he's looking forward to play the Ranji matches," Jaffer said.

"He bowled for about 45 minutes and he looked brilliant. He must have bowled about 36 balls. I am happy with the way he's shaping. He is likely to play Ranji Trophy matches (maybe against Orissa and against Saurashtra)," coach and ex-stumper Kulkarni said.

While announcing the extent of his injury on August 7, the BCCI had said Zaheer would need a surgery on his ankle, followed by intensive rehabilitation for both the ankle and hamstring. "He will need at least 14-16 weeks to recover completely," BCCI had informed.

Zaheer had missed the tour to the West Indies too, prior to the visit to England, where he broke down on the first day of the four-match series, which India lost all their matches.