Nayan is 42 now and has registered for the 2021 IPL auctions, becoming the oldest player to register for the auctions. Alongside Dawid Malan, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Mark Wood, Sam Billings, Adil Rashid, Alex Hales, Liam Livingstone, Tom Curran, Ben Duckett, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Reece Topley, George Garton, Lewis Gregory and Ravi Bopara, Nayan is one of the 17 Englishmen in the IPL auction‘s final list.
It is not that he hasn’t featured in the IPL before. Nayan was part of the Rajasthan Royals squad in 2010 and the Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit in 2011. In four IPL games, he has two wickets to his name.
It was in December 2013 that Nayan last played any professional level, competitive cricket. So why did he decide to throw his hat into the ring again?
“I absolutely love the game. I did it because I believe in what I’m doing. Last January, when I told my dad that I wanted to start playing again, he said: ‘Are you sure?’
“When it comes to cricket, I want my dad to see and check how I am performing. My dad gave me a couple of weeks. I, myself, wouldn’t take too many opinions. After I had been practising for two weeks, he came to see me and gave me the nod. I value his opinion the most,” Nayan told TOI in an exclusive interview from London.
“My dad being my dad, if I wasn’t bowling up to the mark, he would just say ‘don’t do this’,” he added.
It was club cricket where Nayan made his comeback. “Last season, I played for Brondesbury in the Middlesex County Cricket League and picked up 17 wickets from 85 overs at an average of 14.53,” he said. “I am ready and I’m bowling at my best.”
Many feel that T20 is for youngsters, but for Nayan “age is just a number”.
“I don’t think about my age. It is a fallacy that T20 is a young man’s game. On the contrary, I believe T20 is all about experience. It is about the skills and who has the better set of skills. I believe that my skill set gives me an edge over any young spin bowler,” said the 6 feet 4 inches tall Nayan.
“A lot of it is mindset. A lot of it is not being scared to get hit for a six. I have always thought about where and how can I prize out the batsman and get a wicket.”
Meanwhile, the youngest player at the auction is Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmad, who is just 16. Noor is a left-arm wrist spinner and recently played for Melbourne Renegades in the 2020-21 Big Bash League.