In a career which spanned 92 Tests, 200 One-Day Internationals and 17 Twenty20 Internationals, Zaheer overcame several injury and form issues as he finished with the second-most wickets by an Indian paceman. Numbers shows us why the man will go down in the annals of history as one of the finest exponents of swing bowling.
Here’s a look at some of his feats:
Zaheer, with 311 wickets, is the fourth highest Indian wicket-taker in Tests behind Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434) and Harbhajan Singh (417).
He is the second highest wicket-taker behind Kapil Dev for Indian fast bowlers.
He is also the fourth highest wicket-taker in ODIs for India with 282 scalps behind Anil Kumble (337), Javagal Srinath (315) and Ajit Agarkar (288).
Wasim Akram (414) and Chaminda Vaas (355) are the only left-arm bowlers with more Test wickets than Zaheer. Zaheer is third on the overall international wickets list too among left-arm pacemen with 610 wickets. Akram has 916 and Vaas has 761.
Zaheer has 44 World Cup wickets, spanning from 2003 to 2011, putting him in fifth place behind Glenn McGrath (71), Muttiah Muralitharan (68), Akram (55) and Vaas (49) on the list of highest number of wickets by a bowler the marquee event.
He is tied with Srinath in fifth but Srinath has played 34 games as opposed to Zaheer’s 23.
Zaheer, who was one of India’s trump cards during their World Cup triumph in 2011, finished as the joint highest wicket-taker along with Shahid Afridi with 21 scalps.
Only Muralitharan (325) and Shaun Pollock (252) have dismissed more left-hand batsmen than Zaheer, who has gotten the better of southpaws 237 times. He also has the distinct record of dismissing Graeme Smith, Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya and Matthew Hayden – some of the game’s most feared left-hand batsmen -- over 10 times each in international cricket.
He was player of the series in India’s 1-0 victory over England in 2007, their first series victory in England since 1986.
Zaheer was one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the year in the 2008 edition of the Wisden Almanack.
His 75 against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2004 was the highest score in Test cricket by a No. 11 until Tino Best bettered it in 2012.
Zaheer, who has represented Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, is 13th on the list of highest wicket-takers in the IPL. He has 82 scalps from 77 matches.