Former India offspinner Ramesh Powar has signed with Gujarat for the forthcoming domestic season. Powar had earlier become the first cricketer to move out of Rajasthan, following the suspension of the Rajasthan Cricket Association by the BCCI.
The BCCI has a cut-off date of September 1 for domestic transfers. In case of a transfer application beyond the deadline, the secretary and president have powers to approve or disapprove it. Since the uncertainty over the fate of Rajasthan players for the coming season has continued, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel had announced they will issue NOCs to all the players wanting to play for other teams. Gujarat Cricket Association secretary Rajesh Patel confirmed that the BCCI "has issued an NOC for Powar's transfer to Gujarat".
According to Powar, he decided to move out of Rajasthan immediately after the new RCA body was instated earlier in the year. "It was a mutual decision to part ways with Rajasthan. I am delighted that Gujarat approached days before the start of the season and I hope I can contribute on and off the field for them."
After representing his home team Mumbai for 14 first-class seasons, Powar had moved to Rajasthan last year, but had a poor season, taking just 10 wickets at 62.20 from six matches. He even lost his place towards the end of the season. Still, with 313 wickets in the Ranji Trophy, Powar will be the highest wicket-taker among active bowlers in the tournament.
After acquiring the NOC, Powar had not sent a feeler to any other teams. "By the time I got the NOC, most of the teams had signed their professionals, so I had decided to wait and see if someone wanted to use my experience," Powar said. "It was nice that Gujarat did. They have a team with a good mix of youth and experience and they have been a team on the rise. I hope I can pass on my knowledge and experience and help Parthiv [Patel, the Gujarat captain] in improving the standard and performance of the team."
Powar added that Ahmedabad's proximity to Mumbai, where he is based with his family, was also a factor that made him accept the Gujarat offer. "With a young family to raise, it's important to devote as much time possible at home. I can avoid being away for the whole season, with Ahmedabad and Mumbai being so well connected."
Gujarat will now have two professionals for the forthcoming season, with GCA deciding to extend its association with Venugopal Rao. The association had also approached Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh, but the bowler informed them he was not considering a switch.