Important to have a clear plan: Zaheer

Pace spearhead lauds skipper Dhoni for giving him full freedom

Important to have a clear plan: Zaheer

 Captains starting regularly with spinners, bowlers trying variations or batsmen coming up with more and more innovative shots are the norm.
Zaheer Khan, India’s spearhead in all three formats of the game, reflects on the challenges facing the players in the T20 game, and his chemistry with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

On employing different strategies: The game is evolving, no doubt. In this format, the first six overs are very crucial as batsmen are looking to score off every ball and the pressure is always on right from the start. That’s the reason captains are eager to try out new things. Try out spinners so that they can apply the brakes on the momentum. There’s nothing wrong in starting with spinners. New strategies are coming in and the understanding of the game is getting better every day.
On whether batsmen have been more innovative than bowlers: Understanding what are batsmen’s strengths and setting fields accordingly is very important. In terms of variations, you saw in that last IPL a lot of bowlers using different fields. Earlier, we hardly saw mid wicket drop back but now you see it regularly. It’s not true that the bowlers aren’t going beyond the slower yorkers. We are trying out various things too, it’s just that the pressure on batsmen to score at a high rate is more. That’s the reason for more improvised shots.

On his combination with Dhoni: In T20, it’s really important to have a clear game plan. The game is so dynamic, there’s not much time to think. You need to have a proper plan before going in. As far as setting fields is concerned, I have been lucky in that way. I have always got the freedom. MS has full faith in me.

On the difference in pressure between playing for franchises and the country: There always is pressure when you play against good opponents, doesn’t matter who you play for. The IPL is a huge platform, the pressure of performance is high. It’s a different kind of pressure, you are sharing more responsibility in terms of getting a lot of youngsters along because a lot of domestic players also playing. It’s not the case with the Indian team. All the guys are experienced, they have been playing together for a long time, they are more or less aware of the demands of the game.
On the ongoing World T20: The second World T20 was just last year and this in a way has come very soon. T20 matches have really picked up in terms of following, there’s a lot of interest and excitement. We’ve been playing T20 cricket for last the six weeks now and I hope it works in our favour.
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