Abhishek Nayar is on a roll. He scored 966 runs in the Ranji Trophy at 96.60 and snapped up 19 wickets to guide Mumbai to their 40th title. His sparkling all-round performance was lauded by Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar and former Indian cricketers. Initially, Nayar was overlooked for the India A squad which will take on the touring Australian side this month but his exclusion sparked off outrage and later he was drafted into the team.
On Sunday, Nayar found one more reason to celebrate as he bagged $675,000 at the IPL 2013 auction on Sunday - the highest amount fetched by an Indian - as Pune Warriors pipped Royal Challengers Bangalore to the post. "Of course I'm delighted that so many teams bid for me and I got a very good price at the auction," he told Cricketnext. "I feel that this is the reward for my consistent performance in the last domestic season. Franchises are better placed to tell what made them bid for me aggressively as they all come in the auction with different strategies and plans but I would like to believe that my creditable all-round performance in the Ranji Trophy made me a hit among them."
Naya is hopeful of carrying his good form this domestic season into the IPL and perform to the best of his abilities for Pune. "Before the IPL, I'm slated to play the Irani Trophy and the India A match against Australia and a few other domestic matches. I reckon I'll make a smooth transition in the T20 format. You just have to tweak your mindset according to the version of cricket you're playing.
"The most crucial thing is your form and how good you're feeling while batting. To be frank, IPL is fun for the people who are watching it and not so much for the cricketers who play in the middle. There's enormous pressure involved to perform and one needs to put in a lot of diligence while staying focused at the task," said the 29-year-old. "I will put my best foot forward and strive to do exceptionally well for my team which have shown such a tremendous faith in my abilities. I hope to do for Pune Warriors what I did for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy."
Pune is the third IPL team that Nayar will represent, after stints with Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. In 30 matches for Mumbai Indians he scored 457 runs at 24.05 and took five wickets at 30.40 while for Punjab he made 106 runs at 10.60 and managed just two wickets at 55. 50 in 14 matches.