Zak, Mumbai eye revival
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When Zaheer Khan turned out to play for Mumbai earlier in the season the scenario with regard to Mumbai, the Indian Test team and his career were different. At that point in time, Zaheer, like all other Test players, had turned out for their respective domestic teams in order to warm-up for the Test series against England. His appearance against Railways was only an attempt to shrug-off the rust ahead of the four-match Test series. In his second appearance for Mumbai this season, Zaheer has much more at stake.
The timing of his return to the 39-time Ranji Trophy champion's fold could not have been more welcome. Lack of form has seen Zaheer being dropped from the Test squad and he is now part of his home side which is experiencing a prolonged slump themselves. For a side that has traditionally had an aura around themselves, Mumbai have been disappointing with regard to outright wins.
In six rounds this season, they have failed to register a single outright win. Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni, a wicket-keeper who played over 60 first-class games, can't remember the last time the side experienced such a win-less run.
Mumbai are struggling to stay in contention for the knockouts. They are placed in sixth spot in Group A and are tied with Railways at 14 points. The return of Zaheer only indicates that the veteran paceman is not just ready to walk away from the game yet, in spite of his advancing years and average form over the past year. With two of their batting mainstays — Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane — away on Twenty20 International duty, Zaheer's presence will ensure that the bowling unit gets more teeth.
"When we got confirmation that Zaheer will be playing for us against Madhya Pradesh it came as a relief. He brings a lot to the table with regard to experience. We all want him to do well and Mumbai will definitely get a boost from his presence," Kulkarni said. Mumbai will be without medium-pacer Dhaval Kulkarni, who is unwell.
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