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December 27, 2000
Nayan Mongia helped Baroda draw the match against Mumbai in their own backyard on Tuesday. Despite the sledging, the mocking comments and the taunting crowds, Mongia fought hard to save Baroda the blushes of an outright defeat. The 31-year-old former Indian stumper spoke to CricInfo on the traumatic events that affected him in the recent past and the importance of his match saving innings to him and the team.
Q: Was this match a special one for you ?
A: Well, I always give 100% whenever I have played for my state or my country. This match was very crucial for our team. We needed to take points. If we did not gain points in this match, it would have been a very difficult position from here on. So it was very crucial to do well in this game.
Q: What was on your mind going in to this match ?
A: I was positive all along. I wanted to do well for as I said it was a very crucial game. So I kept myself in a positive frame of mind when I went into the game.
Q: After this match saving performance, is your confidence back ?
A: I was certainly rusty before this match and after this innings I am much more confident of myself. I did not play well in the first innings and my confidence was not on a high but this knock has helped me gain it back. This match has given me tremendous confidence. It was a crucial innings for me and for the team.
Q: Do you think Mumbai should have enforced the follow-on ?
A: I can't say much about that. It was their team decision and I did not think about it.
Q: Are you mentally free now ? How did you focus in this match ?
A: I am 150% free now mentally. I am very much focussed now. I was totally blank at one time and I was just playing the ball on its merit. The only thing on my mind was to save the match and gain whatever points we could get.
Q: How are you preparing to lead the West Zone in the Duleep Trophy ?
A: In the Duleep Trophy, there will be crucial games again. The first two matches will be very crucial. We will make sure that we get the first innings lead in the games so as to make our winning chances better.
Q: Are you setting a target to win the Duleep Trophy this year ?
A: Oh yes, I have always given my best efforts for the West Zone whenever I have been given the opportunity to play or asked to lead the side. I am hopeful we do well this year.
Q: Was this Mumbai-Baroda game a grudge match ?
A: No, I don't think it was a grudge match at all. Mumbai is one of the best bowling sides in India and it was a very competitive match. And doing well against them helps the confidence level.
Q: How did you keep yourself mentally focussed making a comeback after the recent events in your life ?
A: I did a lot of training in whatever time I got. This was to keep myself physical and mentally fit. I fought hard through the events that came my way and kept myself as focussed as possible. It was very hard but I did get through it.
Q: How did you prepare yourself emotionally ?
A: It was very hard for me and I tried and focussed as much on the job at hand. For example, the innings against Mumbai was very crucial for me and for the team and I was so happy when I saved the match that I punched the air. That was my only emotional outburst. It was a very great moment for me.
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