As the Kings XI Punjab players went about their pre-match drills at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium before their game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Wednesday, the intensity of one of the players stood out. Abhishek Nayar was leaving no stone unturned in his attempt to impress the team management this time around.
As the Hindustan Times had reported on April 26, Nayar, along with fellow batsman Paul Valthaty and Ramesh Powar had been asked to return home to Mumbai without being given any specific reason. While Powar and Valthaty were not to be seen, Nayar replaced Bipul Sharma, who had failed to pick up a wicket in five games. He could not impress with the bat either.
To start with, KXIP’s injured skipper and mentor Adam Gilchrist took Nayar to one corner and had a chat with him. And the discussion finished with Gilchrist giving Nayar a pat on the back, which coming from a legend of the game can boost any player.
With his unusually wide stance that helps him clear the boundary with ease, Nayar first got into the groove as far as his batting was concerned. Later, he was busy with the fielding coach getting used to catching skiers. Finally, the right-arm medium pacer rolled his arm over, perhaps to make sure that the team management does not forget his bowling skill.
Nayar’s return to the Kings XI fold comes on the back of his scoring a century for his team Cricket Club of India in a Mumbai Cricket Association tournament in Mumbai on Sunday. The left-handed batsman scored 118 in the Talyarkhan Trophy semifinal against MCA colts, a team consisting of Mumbai Ranji Trophy players. Though his team went down, all the attention revolved around him since he had been asked to leave the KXIP camp three days earlier.
Punjab appeared to have taken notice of Nayar's performance and sent him a SOS to boost the batting and add another bowling option.
In the end, he bowled one over, conceding 16 runs. Coming in to bat at number 7 as Kings XI chased 159 for victory, Nayar scored two runs.