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Zaheer snaps ties with Baroda to represent Mumbai

Published: Thursday, September 28, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Vadodara: After successfully spearheading the Baroda attack for seven long years, veteran paceman Zaheer Khan has finally decided to snap his ties with Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) and play for Mumbai in the coming Ranji trophy championship.

Sources said Zaheer is currently playing English county cricket for Worcestershire and would arrive in India soon to complete the formalities with the BCA, which had inducted the Mumbai southpaw in its Ranji squad in 1999-2000 season and helped him make his debut in the first class cricket.

Some senior cricketers of the city alleged that Zaheer, who is out of the Indian team for over seven months, had virtually no option but to quit Baroda because of continued ''neglect'' and ''raw deal'' he had received from the officials of the BCA in the last couple of years.

It was because of Zaheer's outstanding performance with the ball (match figure 7/135), Baroda Ranji team regained its lost glory in 2000-2001 season, when the side lifted the trophy for the second time since 1957-58, defeating the Railways by 21 runs in the final here.

Cricket pundits also believe that the 27-year-old, who was instrumental in promoting Irfan Pathan, has undoubtedly contributed a lot for the development of the game in Baroda.

BCA joint secretary Rakesh Patel admitted that Zaheer's loss was a big blow to the side and it is very difficult to find a good replacement for him. The speedster has been named in the India 'A' team for the Challenger series beginning Oct 1.

Before leaving for Pakistan tour series in January this year, Zaheer had played his last Ranji match for Baroda in December 2005 and had returned a remarkable match figure of 10/118 that enabled Baroda to score a four-wicket victory over Punjab.

With the Sept 30 deadline for cricketers to change sides approaching fast, the BCA was reportedly trying to rope in some of the prominent players from the neighbouring Mumbai and other state teams for the forthcoming Ranji season.

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