Karun Nair made his first-class debut in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy and scored three successive tons during the course of the tournament to help Karnataka win the competition. The following season, Nair scored a mammoth 328 in the final against Tamil Nadu to help Karnataka retain their title.
His brilliant performances in the domestic circuit and the IPL last year caught the eye of the selectors and he was selected in a second string squad for the tour of Zimbabwe in June.
Forgettable Test debut followed by the knock of his career
Nair was selected in the Test team for the New Zealand series due to an injury sustained by Shikhar Dhawan ahead of the third Test. However, he did not feature. Subsequently, he was selected in the squad to play against England and made his Test debut during the third Test. However, he managed to score only four and followed it with a meagre 13 in the fourth Test.
During the 5th and final Test between the two sides at Chennai, KL Rahul was playing the innings of his life. After putting up a 152-run opening stand with Parthiv Patel, Rahul scored his fourth Test century but did not get much assistance from the other batsmen until Nair, who was called up to the squad as a replacement for vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, joined him at the crease.
The two began to build a brilliant partnership for the fourth wicket, putting pressure on the England bowlers. While Rahul scored his highest individual score in Test cricket, Nair got to his maiden half-century. However, disaster struck for the former as he was dismissed by Adil Rashid on 199, thus missing out on a well-deserved double-century.
At this point, the 25-year-old started taking control of the match and brought up his maiden Test ton in remarkable fashion by hitting a boundary. Nair gradually began to show some aggressive intent and scripted history by becoming only the second Indian Test cricketer to register a triple-century.
He also became the fastest player to reach a maiden triple-century, having achieved this in only the third Test innings of his career, as well as the third cricketer after Bobby Simpson and Sir Gary Sobers to convert his maiden Test ton into a triple-century.
The drastic downfall following his mammoth 303
Nair’s knock was enough to cement his place in the Test squad. However, his inclusion in the playing XI was thrown into doubt following Ajinkya Rahane’s return. The Karnataka batsman did not get to play the one-off Test against Bangladesh and the first Test against Australia.
However, an injury to Murali Vijay ahead of the second Test and the omission of Jayant Yadav gave Nair a place in the playing XI. However, he only managed 26 and 0 in the two innings. Nair’s performances in the following two Tests were also dismal, garnering only 23 and 5 in two innings to end the series with 54 runs at a meagre average of 13.5.
How can Nair redeem himself?
Nair’s monumental knock of 303 was followed by a couple of pretty poor performances and if he continues in this vein then there is a good possibility he might be dropped from the Test team soon.
Nair’s best shot at redemption would be the IPL starting next week. The 25-year-old produced some brilliant performances for Delhi Daredevils last season and he will be a crucial player for them this time around as well as they look to clinch a play-off berth.
Provided he performs well during the IPL, he might also get a shot at the Champions Trophy in England beginning from June 1.