Mumbai: Team India’s pacer Zaheer Khan announced his retirement from international cricket on Thursday.

“I want to be remembered as someone who never gave up on the field. I always had that attitude on the field to give my best and pick as many wickets as possible,” the retiring pacer said.

Zaheer Khan led team India’s bowling attack for several seasons and contributed to the team’s victory several times with his early breakthroughs.

Speaking on Zaheer’s retirement, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly praised the fast bowler.

Sri Lanka batting legend Kumar Sangakkara named Zaheer as the bowler he found most tough to face. 

Speaking on it, Zaheer said, “I feel proud that such a great player like Sangakkara praised me. It is really an honour and most importantly it was an honour and pleasure and proud moment to represent India for such a long time.”

Recalling the time spent with Zaheer, Indian pacer Ishant Sharma said, “I was able to transform myself into the team’s leading pacer because of what he taught me. No one knows how big an influence ‘Zak pa’ has been in my life. He groomed me as a bowler,” Ishant was quoted as saying by on Friday.

“He (Zaheer) took a young, raw fast bowler under his wings and made me the mature bowler I am today. I owe so much to ‘Zak pa’, and I cannot thank him enough for all that he has done for me,” he said.

The 27-year-old believes that replacing Zaheer as the spearhead of India’s pace attack was not an easy job.

“I have missed that in the recent past, missed having him around, especially on the field. Since the time ‘Zak pa’ has not been part of the team, my role has changed, as the most experienced pacer. It was a big responsibility. Replacing Zaheer Khan as the spearhead is not an easy job,” he said.

Ishant wished his mentor the very best in his post-retirement life.

“I will not play Test cricket with him again. But he has served the country brilliantly for so many years and perhaps, he felt it was now time to do something else. I wish him all the very best in whatever he decides to do in his life from here on,” Ishant said.

(With Inputs from IANS)

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