Amidst the gluttony of international and T20 cricket, people of this country tend to forget about domestic first-class and list A cricket. This is a shame because amongst the multitude of names that ply their trade in the domestic circuit, there are some extremely talented players who are unfortunate to not play at the highest level.
One such player, who was a key member of the Mumbai team for more than a decade and played a key part in their many triumphs, has decided to bring curtains down on his career. Abhishek Nayar was among the finest all-rounders in Indian cricket.
A stylish left-handed batsman and an efficient medium-pace bowler, Nayar played 103 first-class and 99 List A matches. He did make it to the international level but his career was restricted to just 3 ODIs in which he faced 7 and bowled 18 deliveries. He was also part of Indian Premier League (IPL) and mainly played for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
In domestic cricket though, he was a very solid performer. The 36-year old managed to pile up 5749 runs at an admirable average of 45.62 with 13 centuries and a highest score of 259. This went along with 173 wickets at an average of 31.47 and a best of 7/131. In List A cricket, the ambidextrous cricketer scored 2145 runs and took 79 wickets. His batting and bowling averages in this format were 31.08 and 30.10 respectively.
But what distinguished Nayar was the style of his play. He was a highly stylish left-hander, as most of them are. He was also a skilful medium pacer who could make good use of helpful conditions. Mumbai has always been a place where not just spinners, but seamers have also thrived. Nayar continued that tradition. His batting was more prominent but as a bowler, Abhishek provided vital support to the team's attack.
Talking to PTI, Nayar stated: "I'm absolutely satisfied... there are so many cricketers out there who would want to be in the position I am today. I can only be grateful and thankful to have had the opportunity to play for this long... (I have) absolutely no regrets...I'm a happy man."
The only glitch in this very successful career of Nayar came in the 2017/18 season when he was dropped from the Mumbai team. The veteran cricketer had completed 99 matches and was looking forward to his 100th.
However, the all-rounder did get to play four more first-class matches thanks to the arrival of Puducherry on the stage of Indian domestic cricket. His team mainly played against other minnows like Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh who also appeared on the scene thanks to the reforms in the BCCI. In the end, it's good to see him leaving on his own terms.