Former India pacer Zaheer bats for club cricket

Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan on Monday stressed the importance of playing club cricket and gave his own example to prove his point.

The former left-arm speedster was the chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony of the 72nd Police Invitation Shield Cricket Tournament.

"Club cricket is a prominent part of Mumbai's cricket and that is where we all learn how to get ready for the higher-level. That's what Mumbai club cricket is all," he said.

"Keeping that in mind, congratulations to the police for keeping this tradition going. Seventy-two years is a long time for someone to keep at it and keep getting better and better," said Zaheer while addressing young players at Mumbai Police Gymkhana in the south of the metropolis.

This year it was won by MIG Cricket Club.

"I have been a regular feature of this tournament when I was making my mark, trying to play at the highest level. I would like to talk about club cricket of Mumbai because it is an important feature, which helps all cricketers. In my case, for sure, it really shaped me up to be ready for challenges of the higher level," he said.

He also credited Mumbai's past dominance in Ranji Trophy to club cricket.

"Club cricket in Mumbai speak volumes when you look at record of MCA, claiming the Ranji title (for a record 41 times). The big success has to be the club set-up, which our state has," he noted.

Zaheer said he played a final at P J Hindu Gymkhana against Shivaji Park, in which he claimed seven wickets and that helped him to come in the limelight.

"So that is the power a club match has and every opportunity can take you to a height which you as a cricketer can never think of. Mumbai cricketers have own identity and it comes from club cricket. The MCA needs to take good measures to lighten up the club cricket structure," he signed off. PTI NRB BNM BNM

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