Focus On Batters

With lack of experience in bowling department post Ajit Agarkar's injury, Mumbai relying on batsmen for Irani tie starting today.

In his first stint as captain of the Mumbai team, Abhishek Nayar has a big task to climb ahead. It was just two days back when Nayar was asked to lead Mumbai after Ajit Agarkar pulled out due to a groin injury and the 29-year-old will now look to stun a star-studded Rest of India side in the Irani Trophy at the Wankhede Stadium. The last time Mumbai won an Irani Trophy was in 1997-98 and since then they've met ROI side six times, without managing to beat them.

Nayar says it will be a big challenge for his side in the coming five days where one will expect good powerful batting displays from both the sides.

"I will be leading Mumbai for the first time at the senior level. It will be a big challenge, but I have people to help me, like Sachin [Tendulkar], Rohit [Sharma] and Ajinkya [Rahane]. Captaincy will be a challenge for sure," Nayar said on the eve of their game.

Having so much experience will certainly come as a big help and Nayar will have some advice coming from the international stars for sure.

"I think with their help, work will become easier. I think I will obviously enjoy it. It does add a bit of pressure. With the help of my teammates, hopefully, we can have a good game," the all-rounder said.

Though the inclusion of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane has strengthened the Mumbai batting side, it will be the inexperienced bowling side that will have to bowl to the likes of Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary. Mumbai can breathe a sigh of relief when they bat but they will require someone to stand and deliver with the ball. The hosts will rest their hopes on Dhawal Kulkarni, who is the most experienced of the lot. Whereas their two pacers Javed Khan and Shardul Thakur have just finished their first season with the Mumbai Ranji side.

"We obviously have a young attack. We have four bowlers who are almost playing their first season. It is not going to be as easy, but I think it is a chance for someone to step up and show what they are worth," Nayar said.

Further adding that this will serve as opportunity for everyone. "Hopefully, we can deliver. Whatever we have been doing in the nets, hopefully, we can implement that in the match and give our best," he adds.

Agarkar setback

Missing their most experienced bowlers can be a bit of a setback especially since Agarkar has plenty of experience. In pressure situations, Agarkar tries to get the best out of his team-mates and led his side from the front.

"Obviously Ajit's not being there is a bit of a setback. But Dhawal has been bowling exceptionally well and we have been batting pretty well. With Ajinkya and Rohit coming back into the side, hopefully, we have a strong enough side to beat Rest Of India this time around," Nayar explains.

After winning the one-sided Ranji Trophy final where they beat Saurashtra with ease in Wankhede, Mumbai will probably face one of the toughest opponents in the season and once again all eyes will be on their batters.

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