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Haryana game will be Sachin's last Ranji tie

Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni created a flutter after the team’s last practice session before leaving for Rohtak yesterday when he said, “who said this is Tendulkar’s last (Ranji) match?” This statement left reporters at the Wankhede baffled.

Zaheer Khan and Sachin Tendulkar
Zaheer Khan (left) and Sachin Tendulkar during Mumbai’s training session at Wankhede yesterday. The team leaves for Rohtak today. Pics/Suresh KK

But later in the day it was clear that the game against Haryana, beginning on Sunday at Lahli will indeed be the last appearance that the maestro will be making for Mumbai.

“This (against Haryana) is my last Ranji match,” the Tendulkar told MiD DAY. Earlier, MCA joint secretary Nitin Dalal had added to the confusion saying: “I asked him about his availability for the whole season. But he did not say anything.”

Chairman of selectors Sudhir Naik, too had no intimation whether this would be Tendulkar’s last first-class match. “We have received no intimation. The secretary has not said anything regarding his plans for the full Ranji Trophy season,” Naik said.

SRT, Zaheer to stay in a different hotel?
It is learnt that Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan will be accommodated in a different hotel from the one that will play host to the remaining Mumbai squad during the game against Haryana. “Tendulkar and Zaheer will stay in one hotel for security reasons. Another reason we have been given is that there are not many rooms in the hotel where all other players will be staying,” a source said. Lahli is expecting a lot of spectators for the Ranji match which will also be televised.

Zaheer turns trainer for Ajinkya Rahane
Zaheer Khan, who recently underwent intensive training sessions in France and South Africa, was seen giving a few fitness tips to India batsman and Mumbai teammate Ajinkya Rahane during the team’s last training session at the Wankhede.

Zaheer Khan and Ajinkya Rahane
Zaheer Khan (right) and Ajinkya Rahane

The senior pacer showed a few exercises to Rahane to strengthen his back and shoulders. The session went on for at least 30 minutes and Rahane appeared delighted. 

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