Indian Premier League (IPL) is a tournament which talks of promoting young talent and giving opportunities to unknown players to shine on the big stage. In its 11 year history, the cash-rich league has seen many players try their luck to make it big, but only few players have made a name for themselves.
Mumbai is the hub of Indian cricket and over the years it has produced stalwarts such as Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar and one player by the name of Abhishek Nayar was also a product of Mumbai’s system. Nayar is an all-rounder, who was not in the league of Jacques Kallis or Andrew Flintoff but was a bits and pieces player. Nayar made his debut for Mumbai in 2005 in the Ranji trophy cricket and quickly established himself as an integral player of the side.
When you toil in domestic cricket in front of empty crowds and no recognition, you sometimes start doubting yourself and contemplate whether you will ever play for India or not. Nayar’s big break arrived in the inaugural season of IPL while representing Mukesh Ambani owned Mumbai Indians and amid the galaxy of stars proved his worth and in a disappointing season was their most valuable player. After his heroics in the IPL, Nayar became a household name and all that perseverance and struggle was finally paying off and made his debut for India in 2009 against West Indies.
Domestic cricket and International cricket are like chalk and cheese and Nayar found this the hard way. Nayar in his brief ODI career of three matches had a dubious record of not scoring a single run or picking up a wicket. After his IPL success in 2008, he could not replicate those highs in next seasons and despite being part of various teams was most of the time was sitting on the bench and carrying drinks. Life is full of ups and downs and Nayar took this disappointment on the chin and continued slogging out in domestic cricket for Mumbai. Once hitting Andrew Flintoff for sixes (IPL, 2009) and now living your life as a domestic warhorse is a bitter pill to swallow.
Abhishek Nayar will not go down in history as a successful player but ironically he is a sought-after personal coach for many players helping them with their preparation and mental side of things. So, once IPL’s darling is not playing in IPL, but Abhishek Nayar has made something out of his career with limited talent and hardwork.