Karun Nair keen to let 'bat do the talking' in new first-class season

Karun Nair will also shoulder the responsibility of captaincy with regular captain Manish Pandey potentially on national duty for large chunks of season.

Karun Nair will lead Karnataka in Manish Pandey's absence.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

 In Karnataka’s back-to-back triumphs in the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali trophies, Karun Nair was rather quiet. In six Vijay Hazare matches he totalled a paltry 66 runs and in eight Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy innings he gathered 203 runs with a solitary half-century.

Yet, ahead of the Ranji Trophy season which kicks off on Monday, Karun was positive. “I don't think I have batted enough in the last two tournaments,” he said. “May be I got a couple of opportunities that I didn’t make use of, but on the whole I haven’t got enough time. I can't control that because our top-order batsmen have done really well. As long as the team is winning, everyone is happy. So I am not worried.”

Karun, who turned 28 on Friday, sought to draw confidence from the way he performed at the start of the season. In the KSCA Dr. K. Thimmappaiah tournament, he accumulated 346 runs from four matches (avg: 43.25) before notching up scores of 99, 166 n.o. and 90 in his first three Duleep Trophy outings. Following a wretched 2018-19 during which he accounted for just one Ranji fifty and was overlooked by Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, it felt like oxygen.

Read: Ktaka’s A. Mithun, Prasidh ruled out of Ranji opener

It is this form Karun would want to replicate going forward, with the added responsibility of marshalling the side in the absence of regular skipper and fellow middle-order mainstay Manish Pandey, who is set to miss significant chunks of the Ranji campaign owing to National team commitments.

“Since you bring it up, I may have to take some extra responsibility but I wasn't thinking of it until now,” Karun said with a smile. “Myself and Manish have been playing for the last seven or eight years but there hasn’t been a phase where we have played together often enough. Either of us is always missing. So for us every batsman has to take responsibility.”

For long it seemed as if the baggage of being India’s second only Test triple centurion was weighing heavily on Karun. But he is eager to shed it and start afresh. “It has been a long time, close to three years. When people remind me of it, it is quite hard but you have to get on with it.”

“Last season I didn't get enough runs and I got an injury at the wrong time which disrupted the season. Now I am trying to get back stronger and all I can do is get the bat do the talking.”

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