Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Zaheer Khan looking to maintain winning record over Yuvraj Singh when the pair go head-to-head at the Abu Dhabi T10

Former India colleagues will now become opponents in the 10-over league that starts at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday

Zaheer Khan shares a joke with Stephen Fleming, head coach of Delhi Bulls, at training in Dubai ahead of the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Zaheer Khan shares a joke with Stephen Fleming, head coach of Delhi Bulls, at training in Dubai ahead of the upcoming Abu Dhabi T10. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Zaheer Khan says he is looking forward to extending his winning record over Yuvraj Singh when the former India teammates go against each other in the Abu Dhabi T10.

The two players were colleagues for the best part of 14 years, including when India won the World Cup on home soil in 2011.

Eight years on, they will be in opposition to each other after signing up for the 10-over league, which starts at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the capital on Friday.

Zaheer is in his second season with the franchise now known as Delhi Bulls, while Yuvraj is making his tournament debut for Maratha Arabians, after agreeing a reported fee of $200,000 (Dh734,500) to play.

Left-arm quick Zaheer says he has generally had the better of his erstwhile colleague when they have faced each other in the past, although he expects Yuvraj to be perfectly suited to the new format.

“We have spoken about it the banter is always there,” said Zaheer said, who played 92 Tests and 200 one-day internationals for India.

“He is all geared up and waiting to take me on. I keep reminding him about the record I have over him, in terms of our tally playing domestic matches.

“So far I am winning, but this is a great opportunity for him to change things around.

"It is just the format for him, and I am looking forward for special performances from him as well.”

Zaheer played three matches last season, when the franchise were known as Bengal Tigers, but he might have a greater workload this time around, given the spate of withdrawals ahead of the tournament.

The Bulls had been set to base their pace attack round Sohail Tanvir and Mohammed Hasnain.

However, that duo were among a raft of players who were refused permission to play by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

They made last-minute call ups for Sri Lanka’s Dushmantha Chameera, and West Indian Ravi Rampaul this week.

Yuvraj Singh, pictured in action for the Mumbai Indians during this year's Indian Premier League, is set to make his Abu Dhabi T10 debut playing for Maratha Arabians. AFP
Yuvraj Singh, pictured in action for the Mumbai Indians during this year's Indian Premier League, is set to make his Abu Dhabi T10 debut playing for Maratha Arabians. AFP

Zaheer is unconcerned by the late confusion, saying he is just happy to be back playing.

“In terms of bringing out that competitive edge, I think two weeks in a year is just about the perfect dose of cricket for me,” Zaheer, 41, said.

“I have been looking forward to it. Last year, I really had a good time and it is pretty much the same group this time around.

“That is also a good feature for us, the dressing room camaraderie. In a way, you miss that once you move away from the international game.”

Although Maratha Arabians will only have their first full-squad training session on Thursday, a day before the tournament starts, Yuvraj is one of a number of their players who has been here since the start of the week.

They trained at the MS Dhoni Academy in Dubai on Tuesday, and Andy Flower, the Arabians coach, was impressed with what he saw.

“Yuvraj Singh is going to be an important player for us, and hopefully he can remain fit for the whole series,” Flower said. “It was good for him to get in the nets, and I thought he looked good.”

Updated: November 13, 2019 05:41 PM

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