Abhishek Nayar has been a veteran in the Indian domestic circuit as he has been a mainstay in the dominant Mumbai side since 2004. He has played 99 first-class matches, 93 List A matches and 95 T20 matches for his team in the Indian domestic circuit and the IPL (Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals) and has been a part of a Ranji Trophy-winning side on five occasions.
The India international was named the mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders during the 2018 IPL and was also appointed as the coach of the franchise's academy. Currently, he is a part of the broadcasting team for the ongoing 2018 Tamil Nadu Premier League.
Sportskeeda caught up with Nayar in an exclusive chat and here are the excerpts.
Q: What do you think about the quality of cricket in TNPL? Has anyone impressed you so far in the tournament?
Ever since I came, I think CV Varun has impressed me. I also saw another game when I was in Banglore where I liked the way he bowled, he’s obviously very new so people are still understanding what he is doing, but I think he’ll be tested more as the tournament goes ahead.
KB Arun Karthik is someone, who’s a senior, but I’ve liked the way he has approached this tournament with the responsibility with which he’s played, especially today when he played against very good sides.
There are some players in the past two days who have done well, the two youngsters today (VB Kanchi Veerans vs Dindigul Dragons) Mokit and Rokins, both of them really impressed me. I thought it was a very very difficult situation when they came out to bat, they showed a lot of maturity with a lot of youth, it was a perfect mixture of both.
So, I think there are lots of young cricketers, it’s only been two days and I’ve always felt that there’s great cricket in Tamil Nadu, there’s a culture in Tamil Nadu cricket, it’s good to be part of it, it’s good to understand and see cricketers from ground level and hopefully in the near future some of them can go on and represent their states and country.
Q: Now that you have been appointed as the mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders and the coach of KKR academy, how will it help you in choosing players from various stare leagues?
It’s a completely different thing. I think mentoring cricketers and watching a league is completely different. Watching a league is more from the point of view as a scout, it’s not something that’s gonna help me in what I do with the academy, that’s a completely different thing, but I think what it does is it gives me an understanding of how the cricket is in the state of Tamil Nadu and when it comes to identifying the players in terms of who we can invest in, it just becomes the easier platform for every franchise, I think every franchise have their eyes on TNPL and want to identify that one or two cricketers who can make a difference in their franchise or setup.
Q: You played a key role in the resurrection of Dinesh Karthik. What changes do you see in Karthik now and the Karthik that came to you before the process began?
Well, to be honest, do I see any changes? Not really. I think he’s still the same Dinesh Karthik that hasn’t changed. Yes, if there are some changes, he’s become little more mature, he understands his game a little more, but I feel the work we did together, I spoke a lot about it, but to keep it brief I think it was more about making him understand his potential, making him understand what he can do, he can’t do.
He’s still the same Dinesh Karthik, nothing has changed. He’s still gonna make mistakes, he’s still gonna do well at times, but I feel the consistency in the past two-three years has been tremendous and a lot of credit goes to him for his own preparation, his own belief in believing what we said could’ve helped him. I think for a cricketer it’s really important to believe in whatever he’s doing and you know for someone who’s trying to help someone, the other person doesn’t believe in you it becomes very difficult to help him.
So, I feel in terms of what we did, we did a lot of different things where I felt I could’ve tweaked his game a bit, his mental aspect, make him feel better about himself, his own preparation and I think it’s a team effort altogether, so it’s not about what I did, it’s also what Dinesh Karthik has brought to the table as a cricketer.
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