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‘Sachin our inspiration’

Mumbai: Mumbai’s batting all-rounder Abhishek Nayar is happy that he has been able to play a full season without suffering an injury that hampered his progress during previous seasons, and is focussed on the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra, which begins on Saturday.

“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,” Nayar said.

“I can’t remember the last time I played the whole season. Just hoping for the best and doing what I can do and trying my best,” said the 29-year-old left-handed batsman and right arm medium pacer ahead of the title contest at Wankhede.

The Secunderabad-born cricketer has been in a prolific form this season — mustering 940 runs in 10 games at an impressive average of 104.44. He has scored three hundreds and 8 half-centuries in 16 innings in which he was unbeaten 7 times.

Nayar, known as a partnership breaker with his clever bowling, has got 16 wickets, including figures of six for 13 against Bengal and attributed it to his off-season work. “I think I have worked a lot during the off-season with all my colleagues… Just hoping that I get the results. I am happy that everything has worked out so far.”

Looking ahead to the final, Nayar said opponents Saurashtra were a very good outfit and could not be taken lightly. “Saurashtra is obviously a very good team. They have players who can hang in there and get big runs. And they are a very good bowling attack. They have reached the final by beating Punjab who had a very good run. If we execute our skills better than them, things will work out for us.”        

He said that the presence of Sachin Tendulkar in the line-up was a bit boost for Mumbai. “The kind of aura he carries and his presence in the dressing room is a big inspiration for all of us. To have him in the dressing room, to get to talk to him, to get his expertise is something we all thrive on,” he gushed.