Karun Nair: Back to what he knows best

It was here during the fifth Test against England in December, 2016, that the 25-year-old Karun set the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium alight with a blistering unbeaten innings of 303.

Akhilesh Kumar

Although Karun Nair savoured the achievements of the past, those were now shut off from his mind.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

He was away from the big crowds and the huge roar. Out in a quiet corner of the MAC ‘B’ ground, Karun Nair was training with his team-mates.

Karun was back doing what he knows best. Displaying great commitment during practice and focussing on the next game. Although he savoured the achievements of the past, those were now shut off from his mind.

Only the future mattered. In this instance it was the Twenty20 game against Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

It was here during the fifth Test against England in December, 2016, that the 25-year-old Karun set the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium alight with a blistering unbeaten innings of 303.

This ground will always be close to Karun’s heart. He relishes the smell of the sea, and the freshness in the air.

Karun said about the great venue here on Saturday, “I like the fact that how open the ground is and how much space there is between the stands.”

Indeed when he cut loose during the second phase of his triple century, the gaps between fielders appeared as large as those between the stands.

Displaying his liking for the stadium at Chepauk, Karun said, “The sea breeze flows in. It cools things down in the middle. There is a feeling of freedom.” Karun, though, certainly made things hot for the Englishmen.

The belief shown in him by skipper Virat Kohli has played a key role in the development of Karun. The youngster from Karnataka said, “He has backed me just as he has backed all the players. Kohli thinks about taking the team forward.”

Karun added, “What I like most about Kohli are his work ethics. He does lead by example.”

Another man who has donned a pivotal role in blossoming of Karun’s career has been Rahul Dravid, from his formative years in Karnataka, to the Rajasthan Royals side, to the India ‘A’ team.

Karun acknowledged the contribution made by the legend in his cricketing journey. “He has been immensely supportive. Rahul sir gave me the licence to go out there and express myself freely. That really helped me evolve as a cricketer.”

The middle-order batsman said he did not set goals for himself, was heartened by words of praise for his batting by Australia captain Steven Smith and said surviving a drowning scare in Kerala last year changed his outlook towards life.

For Karun every day brings with it possibilities. It’s a new beginning.

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