Zaheer Khan: Mumbai club cricket shaped me up, got me ready

Updated: 17 December, 2019 07:51 IST | Subodh Mayure | Mumbai

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan says city's tough cricket culture prepared him for highest stage

Former India speedster Zaheer Khan (centre) with the victorious MIG Cricket Club team at Police Gymkhana yesterday. Pic/ Ashish Raje
Former India speedster Zaheer Khan (centre) with the victorious MIG Cricket Club team at Police Gymkhana yesterday. Pic/ Ashish Raje

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan highlighted the importance of Mumbai's club cricket culture and recalled how playing in the city's maidans helped him made a mark at the highest level.

"Club cricket in Mumbai is an important feature that helps all cricketers. In my case, for sure, it really shaped me up and got me ready for the challenges of the higher level," said Zaheer, who was the chief guest at the 72nd Police Invitation Shield final at the Police Gymkhana on Monday.

"We should consider ourselves lucky. You look at the set-up. I had the opportunity to represent a different state [Baroda] before coming back to Mumbai. This [club cricket] luxury is not there in other states.

"[It's great] to get to play at this level and so many matches. MCA's [Mumbai Cricket Association] record of winning Ranji Trophy titles [41] speaks volumes of the club cricket structure in Mumbai," added the left-arm pace ace, who has 311 Tests and 282 ODI wickets to his credit. Zaheer, 41, recalled how he got the opportunity of being in the playing XI of the National Cricket Club and grabbed it with both hands.

"When I was in my early days, I played a [Police Shield] final at the PJ Hindu Gymkhana, which brought me into the limelight. It was against Shivaji Park Gymkhana and none of our 'A' listers were available for that game, so I got the opportunity to play the final and got seven wickets in that match," said Zaheer.

Rege gives Bista a pat on the back

Jay Bista and Milind RegeJay Bista and Milind Rege

Mumbai's chief selector Milind Rege congratulated opener Jay Bista for accepting his challenge to bat for a whole day. Bista, who scored 18 and 68 against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy opener last week, batted for a full day and scored an impressive 196 for Parkophene Cricketers against MIG Cricket Club on Day One of the Police Shield final, which MIG CC won by the virtue of first innings lead.

"I was talking to Jay as he has this knack of getting out in the 30s, 40s and 50s. When we [selectors] met him [on Saturday], we told him that, 'If you have the gumption, why can't you show it to us by
batting for a whole day? You have it in you to bat for the whole day.

"And Jay scored 190 plus [on Saturday]. Many congratulations to you, Jay, for having proved
to yourself, not to others, that I can do it," Rege said during his speech at the Police
Shield final's prize distribution ceremony on Monday.

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First Published: 17 December, 2019 07:45 IST

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