India vs Sri Lanka: Karun Nair accepts axe, focuses on India A’s tour of SA
Only the second Indian batsman to have scored a Test triple century, Karun Nair has accepted his axing from the national side a mere three Tests after he got to the historical feat. Nair has been dropped from the Indian cricket team that will play three Tests, five ODIs and one T20 in Sri Lanka starting July 26.
Karun Nair joined Virender Sehwag to have scored a triple century for India in Test cricket when he reached 303 not out against England in the fifth and final Test at Chennai late last year. But a string of failures against Australia cost him his place in the Indian cricket team.
Against Australia, Nair featured in three out of four Tests. Despite scoring a triple hundred in his previous Test, Karun Nair was dropped in favour of Ajinkya Rahane for the series opener at Pune. But he was drafted in to the playing XI from the second Test at Bengaluru, and featured in the remainder of the series.
However, all that Nair could manage was a grand total of 54 runs in four outings — inclusive of two single-digit scores — which has now led to his axing from the Indian Test side.
On his part, Nair says he should have ‘converted a couple of starts’ in the Test series.
FOCUSING ON INDIA A TOUR OF SA
Karun Nair told ESPNCricinfo, “I will have to respect the decision of the team management and selectors. That’s the way it goes and I am just focusing on South Africa now, the India ‘A’ tour, looking forward to it. It is going to be a new experience for me, I have never been to South Africa, so trying to just prepare myself and do well there.”
“If I look back, I got a couple of starts which I feel I could have made into substantial scores. Those two starts I got were supposed to be converted, but you know that’s how it goes for a batsman, sometimes you get starts and you are not able to convert them.
“I don’t think there’s any point talking about it right now. I am just looking forward to the season coming up and try to do better,” he added.
Nair reiterated that competition for a place in the Indian Test side remains heavily contested.
“Honestly, I was fortunate enough to get to play in the XI. So I was very happy, learning new things from everyone around and playing Test cricket. I was really enjoying myself and not thinking too much about it. But the competition is very high and it’s healthy competition. There’s nothing to worry about there, I am not thinking too much, just looking forward.”
The 25-year-old Karnataka batsman admitted that he was left unsure of his batting by the end of the Australian series, which was one of the most intense affair witnessed on a cricket field in recent times.
Nair also added that the Australians were far more aggressive than the English cricketers on the field.
Interestingly, Virat Kohli had admitted that the Indian team expected their series against England - a five-match affair bang in the middle of a prolonged ‘India Cricket’ season - to be the most intense.
“There was a lot a difference, the Australians were more at you. Even the English were good but the Australians had more aggression I felt. And we had lost the first game and that made it even more difficult for us and it put them on a high because England never got a sniff also. That also helped Australia,” Nair said.
“At the end of the season, after the Australia series, I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind because I was thinking too much about how I should be playing and how well I should be doing for Delhi (Daredevils) rather than just looking at the ball and reacting.
“It took me half the season to realise I was doing that. The second half was a little better I felt, just looked at the ball and played how the ball came down. Those were the things I learnt this season,” he added.
Nair is now gearing up to lead India in a two four-day match series in South Africa.
Talking about the leadership responsibility, Nair said, “It will be a new experience to go to South Africa for the first time, to experience those conditions and see how it is to play cricket there. It is a stepping stone to do well and get myself back into the Test team. Even looking at it that way, I am looking forward and just trying to be positive.”