Jaipur: Off-spinner Ramesh Powar has decided to leave reigning champions Mumbai and play for Rajasthan in the upcoming Ranji Trophy season.
Powar, who can also bat well, has signed a two-year contract with the Rajasthan Cricket Association.
The stocky spinner said his former team-mate and long-time friend Hrishikesh Kanitkar was instrumental in pulling him to Rajasthan.
"I and Hrishi have been good friends and have played together for departmental teams, Mumbai and West Zone teams for years. We have good understanding and he offered me a place in the Rajasthan team," said Powar, who was instrumental in Mumbai's Ranji triumph in 2002-2003, excelling with both bat and ball.
"I was playing for Mumbai for 13-14 years and it was becoming a routine thing so I shifted to Rajasthan. It is a different feeling while playing for champion teams like Mumbai. We always stepped in to win. Same would be here.
"Rajasthan too have been Ranji champions for two consecutive years, which was no mean feat," said Powar, who looks a lot fitter after shedding a few kilos.
Powar said he worked on his fitness so that he could do justice to his job with the new team.
"It was a challenge for me to lose weight. I have worked hard because I feel playing for Rajasthan ushers in a new innings for me. I want to contribute in all departments and that is why I wanted to be in the best shape," he said.
"The presence of Hrishi would add to my confidence. He understands the game well and is composed and focused. He has become a better cricketer after his stint with Rajasthan. I hope I too will benefit by playing for Rajasthan," he said.
Powar, who is 35, still hopes of making a comeback to the national squad.
"I still hope to play for my country. A couple of good performances can turn things your way. You never know. Moreover, there is a dearth of quality spinners in the country," said Powar, who has played two Tests and 35 ODIs for India.
"I want to give back something to the game. I would be happy if I am able to nurture a few youngsters in Rajasthan during my two-year stint. I always love to impart tips to upcoming spinners," he said.
Praising Rajasthan players, Powar said the likes of Vineet Saxena, Robin Bisht, Ashok Menaria, Pankaj Singh and Rituraj Singh have been performing well.
"I feel Robin Bisht was exceptional and he deserved more chances on the weight of his performances," said Powar.