Zaheer Khan withdraws from IPL 2018 auction in favour of commentary

Updated: Mar 21, 2018, 11:10 IST | Harit N Joshi

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan, 38, seems to have put a punctuation mark to his playing days

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan, 38, seems to have put a punctuation mark to his playing days. The left-arm pace ace has opted out of the mega auction for the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which will be conducted in Bangalore over the weekend. Zaheer retired from international cricket in October 2015, but continued playing in the IPL till last season. However, he did not enter the auction pool this time.

It is learnt that he has signed up for a commentary stint with the IPL broadcasters for this season. Zaheer led Delhi Daredevils in the last IPL, but his stint was marred by a hamstring strain that restricted him to 11 matches in which he claimed 10 wickets. A source close to Zaheer told mid-day: "He didn't feel like being part of the IPL anymore. He has played a lot of cricket and seemed quite content with his achievements. He felt commentary would be a different experience for the IPL and that is why he has opted for it."

Zaheer's decision to go behind the microphone instead of being on the field for yet another IPL has come as a surprise. He looked set to play for another year in the IPL — one of the prime reasons for not accepting the consultant role for Team India as pitched by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) of the BCCI last year. "He was working on regaining his fitness since the last few months. It was obvious that he had IPL-11 on mind. We knew he was training for that," the source said.

Last September, during a rain-delayed start for the fifth ODI between India and Sri Lanka, commentator Harsha Bhogle dropped a hint that Zaheer could be playing one more season of the IPL after he has hit the gym and started to train again. Zaheer only smiled back at Bhogle. Zaheer did not respond to a text message sent in context with this year's IPL.

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