Discarded from the Mumbai set-up, veteran all-rounder Abhishek Nayar has shifted his base to Pondicherry for the upcoming domestic season.
Meanwhile, Pondicherry will make their debut in the Ranji Trophy this season. Just a month ago, the BCCI gave their go-ahead for nine new teams in the esteemed domestic tournament.
In an emotional tweet on Monday (August 20), Nayar wrote: “MUMBAI to PUDUCHERRY, thank you everyone who has helped me and been part of this wonderful 20 years of khadoos cricket, right from the under 14s to 99 first class games. It's been an honour. It's an emotional moment for me but I leave as a happy man, the lion shall always roar in my heart.”
MUMBAI >>>PUDUCHERRY...thank you everyone who has helped me and been part of this wonderful 20 years of khadoos cricket,right from the u14s to 99firstclass games..it's been an honour????.it's an emotional moment for me but I leave a happy man.the lion shall always roar in my ????.— abhishek nayar (@abhisheknayar1) August 20, 2018
Nayar was snubbed from Mumbai’s off-season fitness camp following his poor outing in the 2017-18 Ranji season. The 34-year-old has managed to amass only 130 runs at an average of 18.57 besides scalping 8 wickets in five games.
Given the fact that senior players such as Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Siddhesh Lad kept their place in the side, Nayar’s omission has given a clear indication that Mumbai cricket has moved on from him. The selection committee led by former India pacer Ajit Agarkar, Nilesh Kulkarni, Jatin Paranjape and Sunil More has clarified that form will be the only criteria of selection in Mumbai squad.
“Initially, I was very sour. I wasn’t very happy with how things went – 100th game, in Mumbai, versus Tripura. I was just getting back into form, getting back my flow. I kept thinking ‘Why? What can the thinking be? I mean, I’ve done so much. I’ve been there. I’ve always been someone who has given everything for the team. Why?’” Nayar quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“After I got dropped I played a lot of club cricket, company cricket and did well there. But I still didn’t get picked anywhere… I don’t want to judge anyone. I have immense respect for Ajit as a cricketer, person and friend. He’s one of the persons I believe is honest enough and practical enough in that whole set-up. I won’t lie – initially I felt like, ‘What the hell yaar? It’s just one game. They could have given me that and asked me to go.’ But it’s fine. And he still had the courtesy to pick up the phone, call me, and tell me in person – which for me shows character. A lot of people have been dropped in the past just like that,” he added.
India and Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma heaped praise on Nayar for his contribution towards Mumbai cricket.
Taking to Twitter, Sharma wrote: “One of Mumbais stalwarts is biding adieu to Mumbai cricket. I have known this guy for a long time and I can honestly say he’s the most selfless man I have met. Giving back to the game/players is his forte. Good luck with all the exciting things ahead buddy @abhisheknayar1”.
One of Mumbais stalwarts is biding adieu to Mumbai cricket. I have known this guy for a long time and I can honestly say he’s the most selfless man I have met. Giving back to the game/players is his forte. Good luck with all the exciting things ahead buddy @abhisheknayar1 pic.twitter.com/v39LdjlSsH— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) August 20, 2018
Since he made his first-class debut for Mumbai versus Tamil Nadu in December 2005, Nayar has appeared in 89 first-class matches for his home team, from which he aggregated 4921 runs at an average of 43.93, with 11 tons and 28 half-centuries. His other 10 first-class came against West Zone and India A.