Abhishek Nayar set to play for Pondicherry

Mumbai:  Veteran all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who played 99 first-class games for Mumbai, will turn up for Ranji Trophy debutants Pondicherry this season.

Nayar has moved to Pondicherry after getting an NOC from Mumbai. “I was in talks with them (Pondicherry). On Saturday I took my NOC from the Mumbai Cricket Association and this morning submitted it to the BCCI. So basically today I kind of hit the nail in the coffin,” Nayar told PTI.

Nayar, 34, scored 5,627 runs in the 99 first class games with 259 being his highest score. He had hit 13 hundreds and 31 fifties and snapped 164 wickets with best figures of 7/131. Nayar had earlier refused an offer to coach Pondicherry.

“No, it wasn’t a hard decision,” he said when asked how tough was it to shift from Mumbai. “I just thought about it and wanted to be certain about what I am doing and how I can contribute to Pondicherry, so I took some time before taking a decision.”

Nayar said he opted for Pondicherry as he did not want to take someone’s place in a team. “One of the reasons why I opted for Pondicherry is that I felt its a new team, new culture, I was not taking anyone place,” he said. “I wanted to go to a team where I didn’t take someone’s place. Even the players there, I feel will be happy.”

Nayar had played his last first-class match for Mumbai against Andhra at Ongole in November last year and now looks set to play his 100th first-class match for Pondicherry. Meanwhile, it is also learnt that former India medium-pacer Avishkar Salvi and leg-spinner Praveen Tambe will be among the support staff for Pondicherry.