Mumbai: Key Mumbai batting all-rounder Abhishek Nayar is happy that he has been able to play a full season without suffering an injury that hampered his progress during previous seasons, and is focussed on the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra commencing here on January 26.
"I am happy with the way things have gone this season. Last year, I had a good season as well but I got injured in the middle, had a fractured thumb. This year, touchwood, everything has been alright," Nayar told reporters today at the Wankhede Stadium.
"(I) can`t remember the last time I played the whole season. Just hoping for the best and doing what I can do and trying my best," said the 29-year-old left-handed batsman and right arm medium pacer ahead of the title contest at Wankhede.
The Secunderabad-born cricketer has been in a prolific form this season - mustering 940 runs in 10 games at an impressive average of 104. He has scored three hundreds and 8 half-centuries in 16 innings in which he was unbeaten 7 times.
Asked about the missed chances to score more tons, Nayar said while he would have been happy to have got more centuries, he was pleased with his consistency this season.
"Of course I wish I had 8 hundreds. Everyone wants to get a hundred but sometimes it does not work out. But I am happy I have been consistent, that`s the key. I got big 100s lat year and I thought I was consistent but this year I have been more consistent. It`s something that is more satisfying."
Nayar had played three ODIs in 2009 without having many opportunities to bat and was looking forward to another India call-up to replicate his domestic level success.
"It`s totally up to the selectors. I will try and replicate what I am doing here, there. Obviously I am doing well here and hopefully I can convert these performances if I get a chance and do well there as well."
Conceding playing for the country was his goal, the Mumbai player said at present the focus was the Ranji final.
"Of course, playing for India is the ultimate goal but what is there in front of me is the Ranji Trophy (final) and that`s what is important. I am sure if things work out well I will get what I deserve. I am a firm believer in destiny. If things are meant to be they will be."
He said he was a more consistent player now than when he got the chance to play for the country with more experience under his belt.
"Of course, I have had a couple of years of domestic cricket under my belt and obviously am a lot more experienced. The consistency I wanted to have in my game, I pretty much have had this year, and that has built a lot of confidence.
"Just keeping all that in mind, obviously I am in a better frame of mind because of the runs behind me which gives me a lot of confidence (of doing well for India). I am hoping if I can get a chance I can replicate what I am doing here."
Nayar said the key to consistency has been his shot selection and curbing his natural way to play aggressively to suit the needs of the team.
"Obviously, I had to (curbing aggression); if I had not done that I would not have had a place in the team. That happens gradually with experience as you get to know what your game is.
"I still have the urge to go after the bowlers at times but I try and control it whenever I can. I think it`s about playing according to the situation. I try to do that. I have been fortunate that things have worked in my favour."
Nayar, known as a partnership breaker with his clever bowling, has got 16 wickets, including brilliant figures of 6 for 13 against Bengal at the Brabourne Stadium here, and attributed it to his off-season work.
"I think I have worked a lot during the off-season with all my colleagues. Just hoping that I get good results. I am happy so far everything has worked out."
Looking ahead to the final, Nayar said the opponents were a very good outfit and cannot be taken lightly by the multiple-time Ranji champions.
"Saurashtra is obviously a very good team. They have players who can hang in there and get big runs. And they are a very good bowling attack. They have reached the final by beating Punjab who had a very good run. If we execute our skills better than them, things will work out for us."
The presence of senior cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was a bit boost for the home team, he said.
"The kind of aura he carries and his presence in the dressing room is a big motivation for all of us. To have him in the dressing room, to get to talk to him, to get his xpertise is something we all thrive on. It`s obviously a big boost for us," he gushed.
Nayar said the closely fought league game at Indore against Madhya Pradesh was a major confidence boost. "It was the most enjoyable one. If we had not won that we would have been out of the tournament. That victory brought us back in the tournament and gave us hope. For a team to win a close game like that was a confidence booster."
He was happy for teammate Rohit Sharma`s splendid show (83) in the 4th ODI against England yesterday at Mohali.
"I am extremely happy for Rohit. He`s been working really hard in the nets while he was not playing. It`s really unfortunate that he got out the way he did and hopefully in the coming game he will get a big hundred.
"He has opened before and I can tell you the kind of batsman that he is, he can bat anywhere in the batting order and has batted almost everywhere for India," he added.