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Ranji Trophy 2013-14: Karnataka’s Karun Nair realises dream of playing in final

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Karun Nair has slammed three back to back centuries in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season which has almost guaranteed Karnataka a place in the final. Photo Courtesy: Karun Nair’s Facebook Profile

Jan 22, 2014

It was not long ago that Karun Nair was one amongst many kids who possessed a heavy cricket kit and also some serious ambitions.

Nair, who had not yet played a First-Class cricket match till he was 22 knew that time was slipping by and also his chances for playing for Karnataka.

“I was desperate to play for Karnataka. But dreams don’t stop there,” he says, a bit shy, a bit sure.

“I imagined all kind of things, scoring runs and proving my worth, maybe even hitting a century. And I always, always, wanted to play in a Ranji final,” said Nair, who was speaking to the Indian Express.

Nair’s dream came true in the group stages of the Ranji Trophy as he was named as replacement for Robin Uthappa and he made the most of the opportunity by slamming three centuries on a trot, which has now helped his side almost clinch a spot in the final.

Nair, who scored his highest First-Class score against Punjab, 151 not out, said, “Weather permitting, our aim is to bat out the fifth day. And hopefully by the end of it, I will know what it feels like to score a double hundred. It is hard to believe, I know. But when you’re not getting runs, you realise just how valuable these hundreds are. So I refuse to take it easy after scoring a 50.”

“Until I turned 19, I hadn’t once converted a start to three figures in any level of age-group cricket. No hundreds, but plenty of fifties, sixties and seventies. In fact, when I was 14, I scored some six seventies on the go. At 15, I got into the Under-19  team, Here also, I went through four years of no centuries. Everybody else I batted with usually scored one within their first couple of matches, but I couldn’t. That frustrated me a lot.” added Nair.

Nair who also feels that the solution was mental focus said, “It’s all mental when it comes to batting. So I ensured that once I cross 50, I keep telling myself to be more alert, watch balls more closely, simple things like that. I’m glad that this determination worked best when I needed it most, in my maiden Ranji season.”

“When I walked in, it was the hat-trick ball.Indeed Amit Mishra (not to be confused with the Haryana leggie) had just dismissed Karnataka’s top two run-getters this season, Lokesh Rahul and Manish Pandey, for ducks. So to get through that and score a century was easily the most challenging. And  satisfying. But I knew I could do it, having scored my maiden ton in the previous game against Delhi,” said Nair about his century against Uttar Pradesh in the quarter-finals, which took his team out of a tight spot.

“It’s great that all of us have found form just before the Trophy final. We always had the team to win it but now everything is falling in place at the right time,” said Nair about his team’s current rise in form in the semi-final against Punjab.

“I don’t want to think too far ahead, it is hard to believe. But again, if you would have told me just last month that I would do all this and will be playing in a Ranji final, I wouldn’t have believed that either,” concluded Nair on him attaining the feat of scoring four centuries on the trot and steering his side to the Ranji Trophy final in style.

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