Training, working hard and doing my best in every available opportunity : This is what Karun Nair told me during the course of my interviewing him, way back in December 2015.
The third Test in the ongoing home series against England, being played at Mohali, saw the youngster being handed over his Test cap by none other the iconic former Indian skipper, Sunil Gavaskar.
Karun Kaladharan Nair, 23, made headlines when, by scoring 328 runs off 560 deliveries in the Final of the Ranji Trophy 2014-15, against Tamil Nadu, he bettered the individual best score of 319 runs scored by Baroda’s Gul Mohammad playing against Holkar in the Ranji Trophy Final 1946-47.
Like any other kid with twinkle in the eyes and with the aspiration of making it big, Karun started playing ‘street cricket’ at a very young age.
At the age of 10, he was enrolled in the cricket academy at Kormangala so that he could be put through the proper process of training.
Nair made his First Class debut for Karnataka in December 2013 in the game against Punjab in which he scored 21 runs in the first innings but never got to bat in the second.
Since then Karun has featured in 37 matches (60 innings) and has accumulated 2,845 runs at an average of 52.68 with 328 being his highest individual score. He also has 8 centuries and 13 half-centuries to his credit.
Talking about his average in FC, he said, “I think I can do better. I am really training and hope to do well in the coming season and try to win games for my team.”
In 2014-15 season, Nair had scores of 9, 35, 2, 14, 63, 2, 36, 38, 6, 0, 31, 20, 48, 49*, 28 adding upto 381 runs at an average of 27.21 but in the game against Tamil Nadu he notched up a mammoth 328 runs facing 560 deliveries.
Reliving that performance, he said, “I was not even aware of the record. It’s only after I scored 270, during drinks break, I was told about me surpassing Vishwanath’s (Gundappa) record. Later on I came to know about the record of Gul Mohammad (319 runs).”
“Well end of Day 1, I had just gone in to bat, but end of Day 2, me and Rahul (KL) played almost the entire day and by end Day 3, we had almost wrapped the match in our favour.”
Nair has had a good outing in BCCI’s premier tournament, Indian Premier League.
“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”, he said about his IPL experience.
Karun is comfortable playing in all formats of the game. He said, “I am comfortable playing in all formats of the game. Not many changes are needed. You need to play the correct cricketing shots to be successful in the respective formats.”
The Karnataka youngster has also featured in a couple of ODIs against Zimbabwe in June 2016 but did not leave a mark. However, these are early days and with more breaks given, surely, this youngster would make it big.
Having faith in his training and hard work to make it big, Karun 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.”
Well it has come. The first step has been taken by being blooded in the Playing XI at Mohali and hopefully, Nair would be able to justify his inclusion by making his bat talk.
He also harbours the hope of leading the national team some day. He said, “Well every player would want to lead his national side at the international level. I am also dreaming of doing it. I have the right kind of attitude and approach required of a leader.”
Obviously this positive attitude has kept youngster going and also helped him make his way into the Indian dressing room.
Maybe the young man would hit headlines with his performances.