Mumbai v Rest of India, Irani Cup, Mumbai, 5th day

'Rohit and I should have scored' - Nayar

Siddhartha Talya in Mumbai

February 10, 2013

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Rohit Sharma plays a lofted drive, Mumbai v Karnataka, Ranji Trophy Elite League, Mumbai, 3rd day, November 19, 2011
File photo: Rohit Sharma scored 0 and 1 in the Irani Cup tie against Rest of India © Fotocorp
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Players/Officials: Abhishek Nayar | Rohit Sharma
Series/Tournaments: Indian Domestic Season
Teams: India

Abhishek Nayar rued his and Rohit Sharma's failure with the bat in the first innings while looking back at Mumbai conceding a lead that ultimately sealed the title for Rest of India. Mumbai, who haven't won the Irani Cup since 1997-98, were bowled out for 409 while chasing Rest of India's 526 despite an unbeaten century from Sachin Tendulkar; Nayar was caught at slip for 1, and Rohit was dismissed to a poor shot for a duck.

"It was important for one of Rohit or me to stay and get those runs, but we couldn't," Nayar told reporters at the end of the match. "You can blame the shot, you can blame whatever you want to, but I feel personally we should have been there and got the team through. It was our responsibility, but unfortunately we didn't deliver."

Nayar got an edge while playing across the line to Abhimanyu Mithun, Rohit was caught after top-edging an attempted slog-sweep and the last three wickets were unable to support Tendulkar after he had revived Mumbai's hopes by putting together a century stand for the seventh wicket with Ankeet Chavan. "Our batting has been our forte, with Rohit and me not getting runs that put added pressure on us. If one of us had put our hands up and done something with Sachin, we could have been on the winning side. It's just that key players in the game haven't really delivered and the responsibility has to be taken by us."

Mumbai were without Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar for this match - both ruled out due to injuries - and Dhawal Kulkarni led an inexperienced attack. "Shardul [Thakur] and Javed [Khan] have played three or four games this season, even Vishal's [Dabholkar] played his fourth so we have a bit of inexperience. We are up against guys who are the best in their teams. So it's been a learning experience for the guys."

Mumbai did have a chance to fight back in the second innings after picking up three wickets relatively early on the fourth day and Abhishek Nayar troubling Manoj Tiwary, who he has dismissed several times, before lunch. However, Nayar took himself out of the attack after the break and had his spinners - Dabholkar and Chavan - bowl 52 out of the day's remaining 60 overs, and Rest of India dealt with them comfortably. "At that point, I had already bowled eight overs into the spell and sometimes it takes a toll on your body," Nayar said. "The bulk of the bowling was done by the fast bowlers [in the first innings], so at some point the spinners had to put their hand up and bowl for us. At that point, the ball was swinging a lot and I thought I should have come on to bowl but I felt, at the time, the spinners should have done the job for us."

Nayar said he was disappointed that Wasim Jaffer, who had a prolific season, was not picked for the Tests against Australia. "He's by far one of the best batsmen in India. It is disappointing that he's not in the team, but like I said, he just has to do what is in his hands, and keep getting runs. Hopefully the time will come when he gets his opportunity."

Harbhajan Singh, the Rest of India captain, said he was proud of his team for having won the title, though he felt winning the game outright would have been difficult even if he had declared overnight - Rest of India batted on the fifth morning and gave Mumbai 63 overs to chase 507. "We saw the wicket, it wasn't the kind where it was easy for bowlers to take those ten wickets. This is the kind of a match, where you know that if you take the first-innings lead, you will win the game.

"Our fast bowlers had bowled quite a lot in the first innings, and by looking at the game, we saw their fast bowlers also struggled to take wickets. I just wanted to make sure we'll declare whenever we feel we'd like to bowl and that's what we did."

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Des_65 on (February 12, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

Even if Rohit was selected he would have been benched like in the last year. But, by playing the way he did in this Irani Cup, he has dented his selection for the future. He will probably be sidelined for tests though he never played a single test match but came into limelight through Ranji trophy. His temparament is definitely not good - no patience at all.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2013, 23:13 GMT)

Thank God Rohit averaged 0.5 in this critically important for the selection match. Just imagine if he scored a fifty, he would have been selected for this series to torture fans with his graceful way of getting out under 10.

Posted by pratit on (February 11, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

From whatever I heard in ESPNCricinfo commentary, the wicket had a tinge of green and had something in it for the pacers throughout. Yet Harbhajan seems to be saying that the wicket was flat. Ever wonder if it is not the pitch but just the substandard Indian bowlers? Seems just like last year when these guys were blaming the 8-0 whitewash in Australia and England on "Green","DOCTORED" pitches, conveniently forgetting the fact that the opposition regularly scored more than 500 and even upto 700 on the same pitches.

Posted by satishchandar on (February 11, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

I am really not able to comment on Jaffer. He is in decent form and no opener is in decent form in recent times. Yes he is 35. But why not play Jaffer for 2 years? How many picked youngsters last for more than 2 years in the team? Either gets injured or heavy loss of form takes them out. No use in thinking beyond two years timeline for Indian team given the amount of cricket they play. Pick the players who are in best form.

Posted by satishchandar on (February 11, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

I am not sure about Nayar. I think his credentials don't fit into the team needs. Either we need a spinning all rounder at 6 or a pure batsman. He is a half bat and a decent medium bowler. Not sure whether his batting/bowling are upto international class. He is more a guy like Bangar or JP Yadav or a Joginder. Very good at domestic level but may not be enough to be successful at top level. But certainly, Rohit missed out a good opportunity. He wouldn't have gone like Raina/Rayudu if he had scored a 100 and a 50 in the game and not selected in the main team. Selectors would have hoped for atleast one 50+ score to pick him. A 0 and 1 certainly ruined his slot in the team which almost looks inevitable as he is considered as "Best talent in the nation" by the people in the team.

Posted by class9ryan on (February 10, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

When they came to bat, the pitch was totally flat and on such a wicket if they score 1 run in total it shows the inability of these players to even bat. This is very disappointing..... It could well be curtains for Rohit Sharma's test career which never started.

Posted by   on (February 10, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

when will rohit sharma ever make a decent score in any match hes been around since 2008 and has been given many chances to prove himself i think rohit should forget about coming to the indian team now

Posted by RathishCochin on (February 10, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

Worst performance Nayar and Sharma. Both avg is 1.5 and .5 in this match, even Sreesath have an average of 19 in this match.

Posted by ArmChairUmpire on (February 10, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

Even though the end of this match was drab, I believe that it would have been fool hardy for Harhajan to risk a safe win and go for an outright win. The performance of the Mumbai batsmen in the first innings and the bowlers in both (esp the second) innings was disappointing. On balance, they did not play to win. Hence, they lost!

Posted by gaurav_ on (February 10, 2013, 19:06 GMT)

Really? And what did Wasim Jaffer not do for the last 3 years to miss that chance?!

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