Abhishek Nayar

Abhishek Nayar said that leading Mumbai for the first time on a senior level will be a challenge © PTI

Mumbai: Feb 5, 2013

Handed the captaincy role after injury to Ajit Agarkar, Mumbai skipper Abhishek Nayar today said that he would take help from senior players like Sachin Tendulkar in leading the Ranji champion side in the Irani Cup match against Rest of India which begins here tomorrow.

“It will be a challenge. 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]. So I think with their help, the work will become easier. Hopefully we have a good game,” he said on the eve of the match.

“I think I will obviously enjoy it. It does add a bit of pressure. With the help of my team mates, hopefully, we can have a good game.”

The Mumbai bowling attack looks depleted in the absence of Agarkar and Zaheer Khan and Nayar said, “We obviously have a young attack. We have got four bowlers who are almost playing their first season.

“It is not going to be as easy as we think it is but I think, it is a chance for someone to step up and show what they are worth. It is always going to be an 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 said.

Asked about the possible team composition for tomorrow’s match, He said, “Team is pretty much there. We haven’t decided the 11 as of now, we will decide once we have a look at the pitch in the morning. We look good as a batting unit, bowling is a bit inexperienced.”

Mumbai has been on the losing end on all the six Irani Cup matches they have played and Nayar said, “It is difficult to analyse all six times. I have been part of Irani Trophy losing team twice or thrice. Not very proud of it. We will try and do the right things. This time we have just come out of a Ranji Trophy victory.

“Obviously Ajit not being there is a bit of a setback. The fact that Dhawal [Kulkarni] has been bowling exceptionally well and we have been batting pretty well. Obviously Ajinkya and Rohit coming back into the side, hopefully we have a strong enough side to beat Rest of India this time around,” said Nayar.

His counterpart Virender Sehwag declined to talk to the waiting mediapersons, but his team-mate Harbhajan Singh said that Mumbai would have the advantage of playing at home.

“…In terms of playing cricket, we are equal but Mumbai has the advantage of playing at home. Of course they have a big advantage of having Tendulkar in their side,” Harbhajan said.

“We have good players. Viru (Sehwag) is leading the team.

Besides we have Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay.

They are all one step away from representing India. It is a great opportunity. This is a comeback game for all of us.

Everyone will try to do well.

“Hopefully they do well and get back into the Indian side. [Suresh] Raina of course batted well in the ODI series [against England], it is a great opportunity for him to score some big runs here and play Test cricket,” the senior offie said.

Asked about the Wankhede wicket, he said, “It is a true wicket, if you bat for a couple of days, it will seam around, move around. Good carry from the wicket and good for the fast bowlers in the first couple of days. If you do get in as a batsman, you get to score a lot of runs.

“As a spinner you are always there in the game in this wicket. You need to be consistent with your line and length.

Here and there, you can go for plenty. It is a challenging wicket. I hope the wicket behaves the same way. This is the best wicket in India to play cricket.”