“Thing I cherish the most is earning my teammates’ trust”

At 29, Mumbai's all-rounder Abhishek Nayar seems to have hit his peak, especially in domestic cricket. With 488 runs in five matches, Nayar is Mumbai's highest run-getter so far. Two centuries and four fifties along with a batting average of 122, not to forget that incredible spell of 6/13 against Bengal. And here Nayar tells Sportsline about his prolific form this season, and how he's transformed his game from being a swashbuckler to a responsible middle-order bat capable of scoring 'daddy' hundreds.

Excerpts:

Things have gone well for you personally this season?

I'm happy with the way I've put in performances back-to-back so far. I would have been happier though if I could have remained not-out, and added a few more crucial runs at least a couple of times when I was set and looking good for a massive score.

In the last two years, you've gone from being an explosive striker to a batsman, who occupies the crease and looks to play endurance knocks.

Last season, I got two big hundreds (243 not out and 191) before getting injured. The one thing which I wanted was to back myself to produce good, consistent performances. My focus therefore has been to bat as long as I can. I've not been overly aggressive like before but at the same time I haven't let bad balls go unpunished.

But how did this turn-around really happen?

It wasn't easy. One day, Praveen Amre sir came and told me that I needed to change my mindset. There is a big difference between scoring a century and getting a massive score, say a double-hundred. He told me that I had to first understand what goes into playing an endurance knock. It is a question of playing each ball on its merit, and not going berserk off every delivery. I wasn't a stranger to scoring three-figure scores, but I made a conscious decision to bring in some circumspection into my game. It didn't happen overnight. Even in the nets, I started avoiding aerial shots. Even during our indoors sessions, I concentrated on keeping my shots along the carpet.

... contd.

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