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Karun Nair Focused on 'Controllables' Ahead of Saurashtra Clash

Karun Nair put up a strong-willed performance for Karnataka against Rajasthan in the quarter-final of the Ranji Trophy. Nair spoke to CricketNext about upcoming Ranji Trophy semifinal against Saurashtra and about contributing with the bat for Karnataka.

Abhimanyu Sen |January 23, 2019, 4:03 PM IST
Karun Nair Focused on 'Controllables' Ahead of Saurashtra Clash

There’s an old English phrase, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ And Karun Nair’s strong-willed performance for Karnataka against Rajasthan in the quarter-final of the Ranji Trophy was a typical example.

The former champions were staring down the barrel at 56/4 chasing 186 for victory on a tricky pitch at Bangalore, when two India discards, Nair and captain Manish Pandey, stitched together a match-winning partnership that carried the team home.

“Manish made batting easy for me by taking on the bowlers and I simply told myself that I have to keep batting through at the other end. The counter-attack also changed the minds of the bowlers and they were looking to save runs first,” Nair told CricketNext, recollecting the effort.

After the win against Rajasthan, Pandey had said that Nair was keen on getting in a good knock ahead of the semifinals and that the team had used his “hunger” to play important knocks as a template. Nair has had a stop-start season so far, with a finger injury allowing him only four matches where he’s made an underwhelming 200 runs at an average of under 30. However, as the tournament reaches its business end, Nair is eager to make his return to form and fitness count for the team.

“For me it's important to be able to contribute to Karnataka and like the last game if I can contribute I am happy,” he said. “It's about getting those chances and when they come by you have to make it count.

“All I can do is prepare well and look forward to the game and just do my bit in every sense and work hard. Study their bowlers and see how the other team is doing.”

Nair’s exclusion from the Test team without being given an opportunity to feature in a playing XI on the five-Test tour of England had created a wave of controversy recently, with former greats such as the legendary Sunil Gavaskar questioning the call. Nair, however, has taken a more philosophical view of the situation, having had words of advice and encouragement from India A coach Rahul Dravid, who also spent time the Karnataka team before the quarter-final.

“Just focus on what you can control and what you can do with your batting and your own game,” Nair says. “As long as you're doing the process right there will come a time when everything will fall into place.”

For Nair and the Karnataka outfit, the immediate focus is now the clash against Saurashtra clash. Nair, who has experienced winning the Ranji Trophy, is confident of the frame of mind the team is approaching the game with. Saurashtra will have the in-form Cheteshwar Pujara but Karnataka too have been bolstered by the return of Mayank Agarwal.

“See in knockout games form goes out of the window and it's about playing according to the situations,” Nair said. “We can't just look at one person, we need to get all 20 wickets if want to win. It's all about seizing the important moments and making sure we come out on top. We need to go out there and play to our strengths and potential. If we do that we can beat any team in the country.

“The only thing I'm focused on is winning and contributing to Karnataka and that's the plan and not any further. One needs to go game by game and give a 100 percent at every opportunity. Hopefully in the bargain if I can win games for my team and trophies I'll be really happy.”

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