Karun Nair: The Forgotten Hero of Indian Cricket
Karun Nair | PC: Twitter
It was December 19, 2016, the day when Karnataka’s young Karun Nair had taken England and the cricket world by storm to inscribe his name in the elite club of Indian triple centurion alongside veteran opener Virender Sehwag.
Adding 232 runs to his overnight score of unbeaten 71, Nair hardly mistimed any shot he played during his long stay in the middle. Anything remotely worthy of being pulled or driven was deposited well, sometimes within the boundary; sometimes breaching the rope.
It all happened around five years ago in the fifth Test against England at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. Replying to the visitors’ total of 477, India were in a spot of bother, losing their three renowned Test batters – Cheteshwar Pujara, Parthiv Patel, and Virat Kohli for 211 in quick succession.
Karun Nair did the unthinkable
Then came Karun Nair to bat at number five, who joined opener KL Rahul in the middle and sent the English bowling attack on the leather hunt. Apart from state mate KL Rahul, Nair partnered with the likes of Murali Vijay, Ravi Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja and grafted his way to triple hundred.
The right-hander remained unbeaten with 303 which helped India to declare on their highest-ever total of 759 for seven thus getting a lead of 282 runs and winning the Test by an innings and 75 runs.
Nair in action against England
The right-handed middle-order batter also achieved an unprecedented record of scoring the quickest triple century in the history of the game as he took just three innings to achieve the landmark.
Darkness followed by a sunshine
As expected, Nair's triple century sparked off emotions and celebrations among the fanatics of the cricket-crazy nation of India. Thousands of articles were written and wishes poured in from around the world.
From the sports media to super fancy headlines of newspapers to social media, it was all about Karun Nair, the 'new batting sensation' or 'the emerging star' of Indian cricket.
However, little did the Indian cricket fans know that the Karnataka batter who became a batting sensation overnight after scoring a triple century against the likes of Stuart Broad, Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes would go on to play his last Test within three months of his Chennai heroics.
A Karnataka batter faded into oblivion
Nair faded after his heroics against England
Making national debut back in 2016, Nair went on to represent India in just two ODIs and 6 Tests, that too in the span of 9 months.
Since 2017 he hasn't been in the national selectors' scheme of things in any of the three formats for team India and given the fierce competition for spots, he won't be anywhere near the selectors' radar in the future.
But here the question arises who's to blame?
Well, one can’t blame the Indian selectors/management completely for Karun Nair’s unexpected or rather disappointing snub.
Agree that selectors didn't show enough patience with the Karnataka batter following his remarkable triple ton, but somewhere Nair had only himself to blame for his downfall after his omission from the team.
Barring his magnificent innings against England, he had achieved nothing significant to impress the selectors, neither in his short international stay nor on the domestic level.
At this stage, it won't be wrong to say that Nair has lost to obscurity and the majority of the people have probably forgotten that there was a player from Karnataka who once scored a triple century for India.
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