Mumbai will miss Zaheer in Ranji final

Zaheer expressed his intention of working on his fitness for the Test series against Australia starting in February.

Ranji Trophy heavyweights Mumbai might have won the championship a record 39 times, but this season they looked so woefully out of form that at one point they didn’t even seem to make it to the knockout stages.

But one man changed it all — Zaheer Khan. India’s pace bowling spearhead for a major part of the last decade produced a ferocious spell against Madhya Pradesh picking up five wickets for 79 runs in 19 overs. He once again showed what a fit Zaheer can do to opposition batsmen.

But that was followed by what has been Zaheer’s story over the last couple of years. After a terrific performance, he injured his calf and didn’t play the two knockout matches.

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Despite his absence, Mumbai have made it to the title clash. But they would have wanted to have Zaheer in the line- up for the final.

When the final of the Ranji Trophy will be on at the Wankhede Stadium with Mumbai taking on Saurashtra, the man himself would be at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.

Zaheer made it clear that he would take some time to recover completely. “Training and injury rehabilitation is going well at the NCA, but it will be a while before I get back to bowling,” he said.

Having last played for India in the third Test against England in Kolkata in December, he was left out for the fourth Test in Nagpur. He missed the subsequent T20 series against the Englishmen, as well as the T20 and ODI series against Pakistan followed by the ongoing ODI series against England.

Sources in the BCCI had told MAIL TODAY that he had expressed his intention of working on his fitness for the Test series against Australia starting in February.

And he showed that he was working in that direction by taking a short break before coming back to play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.

He will now get to play the Irani Trophy, from February 6 to 10, and a couple of matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy to prove his match fitness going into the clash against the Aussies.

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