Abhishek Nayar

Abhishek Nayar was the third-highest run scorer in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy © PTI

Mumbai: Feb 4, 2013

All-rounder Abhishek Nayar is set to lead Mumbai in the Irani Trophy against Rest of India in the absence of injured skipper Ajit Agarkar.

“Agarkar has been ruled out of the match because of a groin injury, which he picked up during the final. The team will be led by Abhishek Nayar, but there won’t be any replacement for Ajit,” Mumbai Cricket Association’s joint secretary Nitin Dalal was quoted as saying by PTI.

Nayar, who was the third-highest run-scorer in the recently concluded Ranji season, was surprised by the decision.

“To be honest, [there’s] no reaction [from me]. I can’t really say a lot right now. I’ll let you know when it sinks in,” Nayar told CricketCountry.

Asked if he was expecting the decision after Agarkar was ruled out, Nayar said, “No, I wasn’t even thinking on those lines. I’m quite surprised.”

The 29-year-old, who took part in Mumbai’s practice session at the Wankhede Stadium this morning, added that he came to know of the MCA’s decision only in the evening.

“I think I came to know about it the same time you guys did,” said Nayar, who was the most valuable Indian at the 2013 IPL auction. He was bought by Pune Warriors India for US$ 675,000 in yesterday’s auction.

The Irani Trophy will commence at the Wankhede Stadium on February 6.

Agarkar bowled an inspired spell, along with junior pace partner Dhawal Kulkarni, in the second innings of Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede Stadium on January 28 to power Mumbai to their 40th crown.

Rest of India will be led by Virender Sehwag.

(with inputs from PTI)