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Squad Number - 22
Player Sponsor - Jalpur Millers
Born - Leicester, August 10, 1984
Joined - Leicestershire 2006
Role - Right handed batsman, off-break bowler
Teams Represented - Leicestershire
Honours - Topping the national first-class bowling averages in 2010. FL t20 title with Leicestershire
Highlight of Career - Making my first-class debut and scoring a first-class hundred
Players Admired - Claude Henderson, Erapalli Prasanna, Sachin Tendulkar, Andrew Flintoff
Relaxations - Music, Golf, Reading, Gym
It was a horrible case of déjà vu for Jigar Naik in 2013. After suffering two frustrating injury setbacks in 2012, Naik dislocated his shoulder during the FL t20 win against Nottinghamshire Outlaws to end what had been a terrific summer to that point.
Naik had already picked up 26 first-class wickets in his first ten matches when conditions did not suit his off-spin, and had also established himself as a key bowler in the YB40 and FL t20 side. The 29-year-old had been awarded his county cup and was bowling as well as any other spinner on the circuit when he suffered that cruel blow.
Naik had worked so hard to get back to fitness after two injuries hit his 2012 campaign. Naik went over on his ankle during the first CB40 fixture of the season at Lancashire. After working so hard to get back into action, Naik then landed awkwardly on his knee after taking the vital last wicket in the first innings of the Second XI Final against Kent.
That injury ruled him out of bowling on the final day and after picking up 4-51 in the first innings on a turning surface, it is safe to say that Naik would have fancied helping Leicestershire win the trophy on the last day. It was not to be.
Naik was restricted to two LV=CC appearances in 2012 but was able to move past the 100-wicket mark in first-class cricket for County. The off-spinner finished as Leicestershire’s leading first-class wicket-taker in 2011. He also took 3-3 in an FL t20 game at Yorkshire and played in the FLt20 Final against Somerset.
Naik was rewarded for his efforts by being named as one of the ECB’s Potential England Performance Programme players. Naik’s winter involved a training camp in Loughborough followed by several weeks in Sri Lanka, with the tour including a match-play element.
Naik also scored 545 first-class runs in 2011 and also fielded well to underline his all-round talents. It built on a terrific 2010 campaign, where he finished top of the national bowling averages after claiming 35 first-class wickets at an average of 17.59.
The spinner’s finest hour came at the Oval, where he took a career-best 7-96 to bowl the hosts out in their second innings. The haul helped him to share the John Josephs Award for best performance in the first XI along with James Taylor.
Naik and Henderson regularly strangled the life out of the opposition and took 87 Championship wickets between them. The good work built on the foundations laid in 2009, where Naik was named the Club’s most improved uncapped player.
In that season, Naik also bowled beautifully in all formats and memorably made his maiden first-class century against Derbyshire as part of a game-saving stand with Taylor. The duo set an all-time Club record for the eighth wicket on that occasion.
It was a remarkable effort, particularly given the fact that he had not long returned from a broken arm sustained after being selected for his first Championship appearance of the season against Surrey.
Naik's career record at Leicestershire:
Jigar Naik 2013 (33.17 kB)