Former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan on Monday stressed on the importance of fast bowling and cited his own example on how it helped him to shape up his career. The left-arm pacer was the chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony of the 72nd Police Invitation Shield Cricket Tournament.

“Club cricket is a prominent part of Mumbai’s cricket and that is where we all learn how to get ready for the higher-level. That’s what Mumbai club cricket is all,” he said.

“Keeping that in mind, congratulations to the police for keeping this tradition going. Seventy-two years is a long time for someone to keep at it and keep getting better and better,” said Zaheer while addressing young players at Mumbai Police Gymkhana.

“I have been a regular feature of this tournament when I was making my mark, trying to play at the highest level. I would like to talk about club cricket of Mumbai because it is an important feature, which helps all cricketers. In my case, for sure, it really shaped me up to be ready for challenges of the higher level,” he said.

Zaheer credited Mumbai’s past dominance in Ranji Trophy to club cricket. “Club cricket in Mumbai speak volumes when you look at record of MCA, claiming the Ranji title (for a record 41 times). The big success has to be the club set-up, which our state has,” he noted.

“So that is the power a club match has and every opportunity can take you to a height which you as a cricketer can never think of. Mumbai cricketers have own identity and it comes from club cricket. The MCA needs to take good measures to lighten up the club cricket structure,” he signed off.