Focus is on Zak; Bhajji pulls out

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 29.11.11

Cuttack: All eyes will be on Zaheer Khan when Mumbai take on Odisha in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group match, which begins here on Tuesday. Zaheer has been provisionally included in the Indian squad as the 17th member for the tour to Australia and it will be interesting to see how he performs over the next four days.

Zaheer injured his right hamstring on the first day of the Lord’s Test during the tour of England in July. Though he recovered from that injury, a recurring ankle injury re-surfaced during the practice match against Northampton ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston, forcing Zaheer to abort the series that India eventually lost 4-0.

He underwent ankle surgery and is on the road to peak fitness. Since the last month, in addition to his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, Zaheer has been involved in light bowling sessions.

The hosts are likely to welcome back Haladhar Das, who apologised to the Odisha Cricket Association for his drinking binge in Mohali.

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh pulled out of Punjab’s match against Railways at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. He has been advised rest for pain in his shinbone and in his absence, Uday Kaul will lead.

Following his dismal performance in the West Indies and the Lord’s Test in England earlier this summer, Harbhajan has been left out of the national team. Harbhajan also did not have a great run in the previous three Ranji matches.

Taruwar Kohli would replace Harbhajan. (Agencies)