BENGALURU: At an almost-empty Alur Cricket Ground on Friday, one gentleman wearing a formal shirt was keeping a close eye at the proceedings. Karun Nair’s father, Kaladharan, is a regular at his son’s matches in the city.
“I am used to him watching me play. I need to score runs so he is happy, at least,” said the right-hander. Karun had made sure of that, scoring an impressive unbeaten 92 for India Red against India Blue during the Duleep Trophy clash.
Karun didn’t have the best of domestic seasons last year. He managed only 224 runs in the last Ranji Trophy. That saw the once India A regular being dropped for the West Indies and Sri Lanka A tours. He won’t feature in the one-days when South Africa A tour India either.
Long hours at the nets during his days on the sidelines seem to have rekindled Karun’s touch. Red lost Abhimanyu Easwaran in the first over, and the right-hander was up against the new ball. Unperturbed, Karun reeled off some wonderful shots in the first session. He drove, flicked, and even brought out the paddle sweep against spinners as the game progressed.
“What I have learned is that once you get a start, you have to make it count. I need to work on my consistency,” said Karun. “I have to start scoring in every game I play. Improving my consistency and showing that it can be done game after game... That is what gets any player to the highest level.”
It was understandable when Karun spoke about the importance of being consistent. The major problem he had over the last 12 months or so was his failure to capitalise on starts. But on Friday, he looked determined against the likes of Basil Thampi and Jalaj Saxena.
Karun did not give many chances to bowlers. For major part of his innings, the right-hander looked set for a three-digit score, but the game did not resume after rain stopped play in the third session.
It was his innings and an unbeaten 120-run partnership with Ankit Kalsi for the second wicket that put Red in a good position. They were 163/2 at stumps when the game was called off.
Brief scores: India Red 163/2 in 68 ovs (Karun 92 n.o) vs India Blue.