Mumbai - India's finest left-arm seamer
Zaheer Khan announced his retirement from international cricket on Thursday,
saying he was not fit enough to deal with the rigours of the modern game.
"With immediate effect, I bid adieu to
my career in international cricket," Khan said in a statement, adding he
will sign off from every format after the next edition of the Indian Premier
League in April-May next year.
Khan, who turned 37 earlier this month, was
India's go-to new ball bowler at home and abroad despite being plagued by
injuries throughout his career, which began in 2000.
"The toughest call in a cricketing
career is when one has to walk away from the game itself," Khan said.
"You almost want to push that few,
extra miles but then the body, after nearly two decades, decides not to
"As I was training for the upcoming
season, it dawned on me that my shoulder may not last the rigours of bowling
nearly 18 overs a day, and that's when I knew it was time."
Khan played the last of his 92 Tests in
February 2014 against New Zealand in Wellington before a tendon injury in his
bowling arm forced him out of the national side.
He finished with 311 Test wickets, making
him the second most successful seamer in India after legendary all-rounder
Kapil Dev's haul of 434 wickets.
Khan, who claimed 282 wickets in 200
one-dayers, was also part of World Cup squads in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
His 21 wickets made him the tournament's
joint leading wicket-taker with Shahid Afridi of Pakistan when India won the
World Cup under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Mumbai four years ago.
"My greatest cricketing moment was
lifting the World Cup as part of team India and creating history," Khan
"Cricket has been my only life over
the past two decades and is in fact the only thing I know well. I walk away
with fantastic memories, life defining experiences and great friendships."
Khan also played in 17 Twenty20
internationals and represented Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi teams in various
seasons of the IPL.
Khan's 610 international wickets across all
formats are surpassed in India by only Anil Kumble (956), Harbhajan Singh (706)
and Dev (687).