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Pace spearhead Fallah dropped

28-year-old does not find place in Maharashtra’s squad for Ranji Trophy game against Andhra Pradesh to be played in Cudapah

Written by Chinmay Brahme | Pune |
November 27, 2013 4:59:38 am

As the Maharashtra team began their journey to Cudapah on Tuesday for their fourth Ranji Trophy’s Group C game against Andhra Pradesh,Samad Fallah was hard at work in the nets under a grey sky in Pune. The 28-year-old Fallah was surprisingly dropped from Maharashtra’s squad for the match,with young off-spinner Shamsuzama Kazi replacing the left-arm pacer in the squad.

Fallah played the first three games of the season,taking two wickets in four innings at an average of 122. Chairman of selectors Madhav Ranade said it was this performance that prompted the selectors to drop Fallah from the squad. “He has played the first three games but he has not performed in these games. We have young bowlers who need to be given a chance and that is the reason Samad Fallah is not in the squad for the Andhra game,” said Ranade.

The left-arm pacer has been a fixture in the Maharashtra side for the past six seasons,ever since he made his debut against Himachal Pradesh in the 2007-08 season. Having played 45 First Class matches,Fallah has 172 wickets to his name at an average of 29.28. He was the highest wicket-taker for Maharashtra in the previous season of the Ranji Trophy,scalping 27 wickets in eight matches.

Ironically,Sachin Chaudhari who was called for a suspect action in Maharashtra’s second game against Hyderabad and cannot bowl till he is cleared by the BCCI’s expert committee was in the squad for the side’s game against Goa last week and has travelled to Cudapah. Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave had said Chaudhari was retained in the squad in order to keep him “confident” even as he waits for a hearing date to be set.

Ranade said Fallah had lost a bit of pace and that was going against him. “I was the manager for the West Zone team in the Duleep Trophy. There,Waseem Jaffer,the captain,and Yusuf Pathan,the vice-captain,agreed that Fallah had lost a bit of pace. Also,it does not make sense for one of the senior-most players in the team to travel to Cudapah and carry drinks,” he said.

The chairman of selectors went on to say that it was time for younger pacers to be given a chance. “We have Nikit Dhumal,a fast bowler who has performed well for the Maharashtra under-25 team along with three other medium fast bowlers in the senior squad. Dhumal is 23 and he needs to be given a chance along with other upcoming young bowlers,” he said.

Shrikant Mundhe,Anupam Sanklecha and Dominic Mutthuswamy are the other three fast bowlers in the side. Interestingly,Sanklecha is 31 and Mutthuswamy is 32. Ranade added that Fallah would be on the selectors’ radar and had been dropped from the squad only for the Andhra game for now.

With Maharashtra pushing for qualification to the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals,Fallah,who has the distinction of having been selected in the West Zone team for the Duleep Trophy every year since his debut,can be a vital cog in the side with his experience. However,with the selectors seemingly looking to promote young talent and the pacer’s indifferent form at the beginning of the season,the 28-year-old might be forced to look on from the sidelines.

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