Karun Nair needs to make his innings count, sooner than later: The Karnataka youngster, Karun Kaladharan Nair, made headlines by scoring 328 runs off 560 deliveries in the Final of the Ranji Trophy 2014-15, against Tamil Nadu, and bettered the individual best score of 319 runs scored by Baroda’s Gul Mohammad playing against Holkar in the Ranji Trophy Final 1946-47.
Nair has also been having a good outing in BCCI’s premier tournament, Indian Premier League.
Speaking about his experience Nair had said, “IPL has been a very good experience. We get to interact with our own senior players and other international players and share their experience. We get a lot of advice and guidance from them. The match that I enjoyed playing most was in 2014 when we (Rajasthan Royals) beat RCB in Bengaluru. I had scored 56 runs in that match.”
Having faith in his training and hard work to make it big, during my chat with him in December 2015, Karun had said, “Yes I am, as I said, training and working hard and doing my best in every available opportunity. Rest of it, I will take as it comes.”
The third Test in the recently concluded home series against England, early this year, played at Mohali, saw the youngster being handed over his Test cap by none other the iconic former Indian skipper, Sunil Gavaskar.
Not having done anything significant at Mohali and in the pen-ultimate Test at Mumbai, Nair got another opportunity to establish his credentials in the Fifth and Final Test played at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai.
Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, Nair went on to notch up his maiden Test century but did not stop there. He carried on and on to became the third batsman in the world and the first Indian to convert his maiden Test century into a triple ton.
Staying put at the crease for 560 minutes, facing 381 deliveries, aided by 32 fours and 4 sixes and having stitched three century partnerships, Nair put up his highest Test score, thus far, of an unbeaten 303* runs. He joined the likes of Virendra Sehwag in the 300+ club.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, an ecstatic Nair had said, “I think it will take a couple of days to set in. I was going through all the texts and wishes that I got [last night]. It”s an amazing feeling when you contribute to winning a match, so hats off the to team. Everyone congratulated me but we were more focused on winning the match. There”s a lot to learn, I”ve been learning each day, working hard on my game.”
This performance of his saw the selectors giving their nod for Karun to be part of the Indian squad to play in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2017.
Consigned to the bench for the First Test at Pune, Nair made his way into the Playing XI for the Second Test at his home ground, Bengaluru.
Though India won the hard-fought match by 75 runs, Nair had not made any contribution, worthy of mention.
While his fellow Bengalurian, KL Rahul, was doing well, Nair miserably failed. Facing just 39 deliveries in a stay of 37 minutes at the crease, the youngster could manage to score only 26 runs in the first innings, while in the second innings, he lasted for just one delivery.
In the recently concluded Third Test at Ranchi also, Nair could not score big. He did not spend time at the crease and also could not build up any significant partnership.
Well, with a backing of a triple-century, Nair is very much in focus and the team management as well as the selectors have a huge expectation from him in strengthening the middle order.
Of course, he might be given sufficient opportunities to prove his worth to the team but it may become difficult to stay in the squad only on the ‘backing’ of a solitary triple-century innings, for a long time.
He needs to realise his situation and would have to come up with remarkable performance. There is an opportunity available to him in the Fourth and Final Test to be played at Dharmashala, provided the team management does not disturb the team combination.
Karun Nair will have to make his innings count with a big score, depending upon the demands of the situation and the position that he gets in to bat.
All said and done, only a consistent performance would guarantee a place in the Playing XI.
Hopefully Nair would live up to the expectations and not become a ‘one match wonder.’