Interview with Karun Nair: "Keen to keep performing"
Making a mark in a big game can often be a defining moment of a player’s career. And Karnataka’s talented middle-order batsman Karun Nair can hope to be on the national selectors’ radar after his gruelling knock of 328 in the recent Ranji Trophy final against Tamil Nadu in Mumbai.
The 23-year-old Jodhpur-born cricketer, who turned out for Rajasthan Royals in the 2014 IPL, struck 46 boundaries and one six in his knock which lasted for 560 balls during which he was at the crease for 872 minutes, sharing a huge 386-run sixth wicket partnership with KL Rahul.
Nair, who went on to score 59 and 80 in Karnataka’s impressive win over Rest of India in the Irani Cup final, spoke with Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview.
Q. How does it feel to be a member of a state side that have won back-to-back Ranji titles?
It’s a ‘special feeling’ to be part of this talented Karnataka side. And to win it twice on the trot makes it really worth remembering for many years to come. Not many sides have won the Ranji on two consecutive occasions save for Mumbai who have done it on quite a few occasions. Interestingly, this is the second time that Karnataka have won the Ranji Trophy on two consecutive occasions – earlier we did it in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. I’m really honoured to be part of the Karnataka side.
Q Karnataka had dismissed Tamil Nadu for a measly 134 in their first innings and then Karnataka posted a huge first innings score, which sealed the fate of your opponents.
Our bowlers really bowled well on the first day – they kept plugging away, dried up the runs and built pressure from both ends. I think we had conceded 60-odd runs in thirty overs and they lost three or four wickets in the process. The Wankhede strip had bounce for the seamers and other than it was a good wicket to bat on.
Q. Karnataka were in a deep hole at 31 for 4 when you walked in to bat and then came the massive 386–run sixth stand with KL Rahul. What was going through your mind?
Well, we were pushed on the backfoot but me and Rahul looked to bat session by session and not think far too ahead. We were glad that our big stand helped our side tilt the scales in our team’s favour in the Ranji final.
Q. You had lean run in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy season but you seemed to have reserved your best for the final coming up with a massive 328 off 560 balls, studded with 46 fours and one six.
To be honest, I was not out of form. I was getting starts and then getting out in the thirties and forties. I told Rahul during our partnership that I want to get a big one and make up for not capitalizing on my starts in our earlier games. Thankfully, I managed to get a big hundred and it gave me huge satisfaction because it helped my team win the match.
Q. There is cut-throat competition in the Karnataka side. Most of your batsmen seemed to be among the runs. Must be a good augury for the side?
Healthy competition keeps every player on his toes. It allows every player to push the extra yard for success, which means a player is not just doing well for himself but also for the state side.
Q. You played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) first for Royal Bangalore Challengers and then for Rajasthan Royals. How much has the IPL helped your game?
IPL has immensely helped my game, you get to play the world’s top bowlers and when you score runs against them it really boosts your confidence. Playing these top bowlers enables me to handle the bowlers at the domestic level with even more confidence.
Q. Your state-mate KL Rahul recently made his Test debut against Australia and even scored his maiden Test ton. Are you confident that this big knock will help to attract the attention of the national selectors?
Well, I’m not thinking about all that now. I just want to keep performing, stay injury-free and take it one tournament at a time.
Q. Karnataka have shown that they are a quality side. Do you think the state side can create the same dominance that a side like Mumbai had in the past?
There is no doubt that we have a talented side. Surely, Karnataka have the potential to dominate Ranji Trophy over the next few years.