Agencies, Mumbai He himself has been enjoying a purple patch off late, and could soon be the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy this season (presently he has 940 email@example.com in 10 games and is placed third on the top Ranji run-getters charts), but it is best pal Rohit Sharma’s success that seems to bring more cheer to Abhishek Nayar’s face.
The talented Mumbai bat bounced back after being recalled to the XI, slamming 83 and shape India’s victory in the fourth ODI at Mohali, that too on being asked to open the innings all of a sudden. “I am extremely happy for Rohit. He’s been working really hard in the nets while he was not playing. He got his chance and did well. It’s really unfortunate he got out the way he did and hopefully in the coming game he will get a big hundred,” Nayar, while preparing for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy final that begins from Saturday, said. According to him, a dry spell of runs doesn’t faze Rohit much.
“He is one of the mentally toughest people you will meet,” says Nayar. Do the too share notes on batting. “Never…our conversations revolve being fit and other things in life,” Nayar says. Will he be comfortable in his new role as an opener from here? “He has opened before and the kind of batsman that he is, he can bat anywhere in the batting order, which he has done for India. When you talk about a flexible batting order, he is someone who can bat at any number. He’s extremely talented and hard working,” Nayar says. At the same time, the left-hander feels sad for the off-colour Rahane, who was dropped in favour of Rohit on Wednesday.
“He too will bounce back. He is a terrific batsman…such phases of bad form do come,” says Nayar. This all-rounder too has seen bad phases, which have been more about injuries than form. While a bad wrist hurt him for a long time, a leg injury, and then a fractured thumb all combined to ensure that just as his career picked up pace, an injury derailed it. “I am happy with the way things have gone this season. Last year I had a good season as well but I got injured in the middle, had a fractured thumb. This year, touchwood, everything has been alright. I can’t remember the last time I played the whole season,” Nayar says.
Nayar has scored eight fifties, besides three tons, this season. Perhaps, more hundreds would strengthen his case. “Of course I wish I had eight hundreds. Everyone wants to get a hundred but sometimes it does not work out. But I am happy that I have been consistent, that’s the key.” Having scored that many wickets apart from taking 16 wickets, does Nayar still harbour ambitions of a recall? “It’s totally up to the selectors. I will try and replicate what I am doing here there. Hopefully, I can convert these performances if I get a chance and do well there as well,” said the 29-year-old. Despite enjoying productive Ranji seasons, Nayar’s name doesn’t even figure in the scheme of things for the Indian team. It must be frustrating. “Of course, playing for India is the ultimate goal but what is there in front of me is the Ranji Trophy (final) and that’s what is important. I am sure if things work out well I will get what I deserve. I am a firm believer in destiny.
If things are meant to be they will be. It’s up to the selectors and up to what they think. I will try to do my best,” he says. Over the years, Nayar has had to mould his game from an attacking to a patient one. “Obviously I had to do it. If I had not done that, I would not have had a place in the team. That happens gradually with experience as you get to know what your game is. I still have to urge to go after the bowlers at times but I try and control it. I think it’s about playing according to the situation,” he says.
Summing up a season where Mumbai have made it to the yet another final despite recording just one outright win, Nayar said: “It has been an interesting season. It has kept us on our toes. It would be fairy-tale if we ended up winning. It’s a season in which we have worked very hard as a unit. The team has been together through tough times and we have enjoyed it. We have had only one outright win but have been very consistent as a team.”