Has Anyone Noticed Karun Nair’s Form Yet?
Kings XI Punjab
Some Indian players have really set this IPL season on fire with their fabulous batting performances. When most of the reputed International overseas players have gone cold with their performances, it is these Indian players like Ambati Rayudu, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni and Rishabh Pant who have kept the flame of batting ablaze.
People are going gaga over their forms and rightly so as they have not witnessed so many Indian batsmen performing so well together in a single edition of IPL. Add to that the recent exploits of the U-19 stars like Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill, you have a whole starcast of Indian batsmen there.
However, among all these names, there is one batsman whose exploits with the bat have gone totally unnoticed somewhat due to his batting position and also lack of time at the crease. That batsman is none other than Kings XI Punjab’s Karun Nair.
The presence of batsmen like Chris Gayle and KL Rahul at the top of the order who are in superb form hasn't allowed Nair the time at the crease to make his mark in this season like other Indian batsmen.
Most of the times he has walked out to bat at number four or five with six or seven overs to go. So that hasn't allowed him to play out as many deliveries as he would want. But he has done a commendable job everytime helping his team to accelerate the scoring with quick fire knocks of 20s and 30s.
In the seven innings he has played so far this season, he has amassed 209 runs at an average of 29.85 and strike rate of 132.27. He started off this campaign on a bright note with a fifty against the Delhi Daredevils in just 33 deliveries after walking out to bat in the fifth over batting at No. 4. Apart from that occasion he has walked out to bat just thrice inside the first 10 overs and has got scores of 29 off 26 deliveries, 34 off 32 deliveries and 13 off 17 deliveries when his team was under a lot of pressure, that too on tough pitches. While Punjab won one of those three matches, the loss in the other two tells about the impact Nair’s failure to score well has on the team.
Other than those four occasions, Nair has always batted in the latter half of the innings with scores of 29(17), 31(21) and 23(12) to his name which tells about how he accelerates the scoring during the middle overs and thus helps his team to score at a healthy run rate.
Nair is the only Indian other than Virender Sehwag who can boast of a triple century in Tests. His exploits in the Ranji season this year after a horrific domestic performance last year tells that he is back in form an probably ready to go to the highest level once again. He amassed 612 runs in 7 Ranji matches this season at an average of 68.00 that included three centuries as well.
Moreover, most of the shots he plays are absolute treat to the eyes. They are not wild slogs or shots played with brute force. In fact, they are all classic copy book shots played with pomp, power and grandeur. If he wouldn't have been dismissed off a superb catch by Hardik Pandya at the long off boundary in the previous match against the Mumbai Indians, Nair looked all set for a big score.
All the shots he has put on display so far in his little cameos so far this season, give an idea about the superb touch he is in with the bat. Punjab are probably wasting his talent and potential forcing him to bat at No. 4 and 5 mostly. None of the batsmen like Mayank Agarwal or Yuvraj Singh have staked their claim at the No. 3 position with their performances.
It's time now that the Punjab team management considers promoting Nair to No. 3 in order to put his shot making and anchoring skills to full use along with giving him the chance to showcase his talent and potential just like the other Indian batsmen on song this season.