Wasim Jaffer takes over reins from injured Abhishek Nayar

Wasim JafferMumbai still lead the points table with 20 points ahead of their last home game in the league (IE Photo)

Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) senior selection committee has requested Wasim Jaffer to lead Mumbai in the forthcoming Ranji Trophy games until Zaheer Khan returns to the squad.

The decision came after Abhishek Nayar injured his hip and ankle during Mumbai's last game against Jharkhand. The captaincy was initially offered to Aditya Tare but when the wicket-keeper turned it down, MCA joint-secretary Nitin Dalal requested the selection committee to make Jaffer the skipper.

"Selectors wanted Tare to lead the remaining games but he declined the offer. So the committee requested Jaffer to take up the captaincy and he agreed. Mumbai is full of young players and we needed someone who has some experience. Jaffer is the ideal candidate for the post and he will be leading the team until Zaheer is back from national duty," Dalal said. The move means that even if Nayar regains fitness he will make the side only as an all-rounder.

It was two seasons ago that Jaffer quit the Mumbai captaincy citing differences within the dressing room and with coach Sulakshan Kulkarni.

Later, Ajit Agarkar was asked to lead. Nayar was appointed captain for Mumbai's last Ranji game against Jharkhand after Zaheer Khan joined the Indian team in South Africa. The selectors felt that Nayar did not display a sound grasp of tactics, especially when he allowed Saurabh Tiwary, who made 238, to add 154 runs for ninth wicket. That proved to be the decisive moment in the game as Mumbai had to contend with the lone point after conceding the first innings lead.

The 30-year-old is expected to be fit in two weeks, meaning he will miss the next two games. "It's unclear whether he will be fit for the next game against Odisha. The physiotherapist's report suggests that he might take 10-12 days to get fit. We will be also missing pacer Akbar Khan, who fractured his finger in last game. He will be out for nearly three weeks," Dalal stated.

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