Karun Nair has a highest First-Class score of 328 © PTI
Karun Nair has a highest First-Class score of 328 © PTI

Karun Nair gets a well-deserved call-up to the Indian squad after a couple of consistent seasons of domestic cricket with current Ranji Trophy champions Karnataka. He also scored an unbeaten 114 in the second unofficial Test against South Africa A recently to help India A save the Test. While Nair is an excellent addition to the squad, Pramod Ananth believes he will have to wait a bit longer to make his Test debut.

Following injuries to India’s regular openers — Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay — India had no option but to make an addition to the squad as a backup. In all likeliness, Cheteshwar Pujara will open batting with KL Rahul while Naman Ojha will have to come in to replace the injured Wriddhiman Saha. Should Virat Kohli decide on playing an extra batsman, Nair could get a chance; but that seems highly unlikely at present. Poll: Should Karun Nair play in 3rd Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo?

Pujara is a makeshift opener, and has batted in the top two on four occasions in Test cricket. He has done quite well there, and averages over 100 in that position, albeit with a small sample size. Pujara generally bats at No. 3, but since Ajinkya Rahane scored a superb century in the second Test, it does not seem likely that he will relinquish that position. The only position Nair could have grabbed was that of Rohit Sharma’s No. 5 position. But Rohit scored 79 in the first innings of the second Test, which will in all likelihood have sealed his position there for the near future.

Nair too has batted in various positions for his state, which makes him a versatile player. He has opened batting on a few occasions, but of late he bats in the middle order, mostly at either Nos 5 or 6. He got his career best score of 328 batting at No. 6, which came in the Ranji Trophy 2014-15 Final against Tamil Nadu at Mumbai. He is accustomed to playing a long innings and is a tough batsman to dismiss once he gets his eye in. His record over the last 13 months or so in First-Class cricket bears testimony to what an excellent player he is. His part-time off-spinners too are quite handy at times. Naman Ojha, Karun Nair called in as replacements for 3rd Test against Sri Lanka

Karun Nair’s First-Class record:

M

I

R

HS

Ave

50s

100s

23

38

1,724

328

50.70

5

5

Having made his First-Class debut in 2013, he certainly has come a long way since. He has been a part of the Ranji Trophy-winning Karnataka side twice in a row, playing an integral part in both. In a short span of time, he has turned into one of the most reliable batsmen in the domestic setup and has a bright career ahead of him. A First-Class average of over 50 in this early stage of his career is outstanding.

Nair will more or less miss out being a part of the playing XI in the third Test against Sri Lanka, not because he is not good to play at this level, but because India will not want to drop anyone who is in form and at the moment. It was the batting after all that won them the Colombo Test, and they are unlikely to tinker around unnecessarily. Karun Nair: India call-up a dream come true

It is encouraging to see players like Nair rise up the ranks quickly, and one can only hope that things get better and better for him from here on.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)