Posted On Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 08:29:35 AM
On Monday afternoon at the Wankhede, Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar credited his team’s triumph in the Ranji Trophy to the consistent performances of 8-9 players over the past three months. It was a tough, gruelling and at times a nerve-racking journey for Agarkar’s men who brought home their 40th title.
Looking closer, if one were to pick the best among those 8-9 men that the captain was referring to, it wouldn’t be very difficult to identify that player.
After all, he was not only Mumbai’s stand out performer, but easily the best all-rounder in the entire competition this season. Yes, Abhishek Nayar enjoyed a season that most players can only dream of. Yet, a day after the team’s success, the 29-year-old was not willing to get carried away. “It feels really nice to have won the Ranji Trophy title for the 40th time.
It’s something that we are very proud of,” Nayar told Mirror. Mumbai’s journey wasn’t as smooth as it seems in the final analysis and a loss to Madhya Pradesh in Indore on December 25 would have sent them packing from the tournament. According to Nayar, that is where the season turned on its head for the eventual victors.
“That was the game where we needed to show our true strength and I am glad all the 15 players who were there with us fought collectively to turn things around from a position where the game could have been won by either team.” By the time the curtains were drawn on the season, Nayar had compiled a massive 966 runs (trailing Punjab’s Jiwanjot Singh, the season’s top scorer by a mere 29 runs) and claimed 19 wickets.
But it was his performance against MP which gave him maximum satisfaction. “I took six wickets against Bengal in the second innings, and also scored some runs but when I look back, I am thrilled that I could bowl my heart out against MP.
I bowled a really long spell and also took important wickets just when we need them,” he said. Unlike some of the previous years, a major relief for Nayar this time was that he endured the entire season without getting injured.
His stints with former Mumbai coach Praveen Amre too have begun yielding dividends as the left-hander sets himself stiffer targets in the months to follow.
“We have been working on a host of things, like the position of my grip, my off-side play and things like that. Amre sir has worked really hard on me and the results are very evident now.” Given his current form Nayar is hoping that the national selectors will take note of his performances.
“Getting selected or not is not really in my hands. But yes, I think I am in the best form of my life. I am improving consistently, so it would be very rewarding if I can break into the Indian team once again.
“I was part of the team for a brief period, but I couldn’t make the most of the opportunities I got. But now, I am confident of doing well,” he said.