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T10 League side Bengal Tigers rope in former India pacer Zaheer Khan

The Tigers also picked Chirag Suri and Mohammad Usman in the draft for United Arab Emirates players.

Zaheer Khan Test
Zaheer Khan. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

T10 League franchise Bengal Tigers has roped in former Indian left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan, at the players draft which was held at the Capital Club in Dubai on October 30. The 40-year-old, who last played a cricket match in February this year, has also been named as the team’s Icon Player from India. Bengal Tigers failed to cross the group stage last year and finished fifth among six teams in the fray.

The side’s mentor, Anis Sajan, said they also eyed Zaheer to be their icon player and considers it a success as they were able to sign him up. The Tigers will be led by England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings who has replaced Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed who captained the side in the inaugural edition last year.

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Tigers always aimed to include Zaheer

“We always wanted Zaheer Khan to be our Icon Player from India and we were the lucky ones out of the eight franchise to get the first chance to pick Zaheer Khan in the draft. It’s all about luck and I would be honest in admitting that the hand of God was on Bengal Tigers that we got the first pick. It was no brainier for us in going in for Zaheer Khan,” Gulf News quoted Sajan as saying.

He is hopeful that the addition of Zaheer will better the side’s chances to lift the title in the second edition. One of the best artisans of reverse swing, Zak will be a key bowler in the Tigers’ ranks in the tournament, even though he played his last international game in 2014. He has over 600 international wickets in 92 Tests, 200 ODIs and 17 T20Is.

“Zaheer was the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack for a decade and was instrumental in India winning the 2011 World Cup as the highest wicket-taker. He is also the fourth highest wicket-taker for India in ODIs and fifth highest in Test cricket. His presence will be inspiring for everyone,” Sajan added.

The Tigers also picked Chirag Suri and Mohammad Usman in the draft for United Arab Emirates players. The second edition of the T10 League will be played between November 23 and December 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. This edition will feature eight teams, two more than the first.

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