Karun Nair has claimed that he was nervous ahead of his brilliant 303-run innings against England in Chennai but added that he enjoyed the pressure and thrived under it. The 25-year-old also praised Virat Kohli for his leadership qualities stating that the Indian captain always leads by example.
"I have to admit that at the beginning of my innings in Chennai, I felt a bit of pressure. But pressure is something I thrive under. Such situations help because I can take the pressure off myself and focus on bailing the team out. I went in after Virat was dismissed, so I was thinking more about the team cause," Nair told Cricbuzz in an interview.
Just as Indian fans were done feeling sorry for KL Rahul, who was dismissed for 199 in the same Test, they were given a new name to chant by the 25-year-old with a blistering unbeaten triple century that set up a win for his team.
When asked about how he decided to pace his innings, the Karnataka player said that after getting past 30 he wanted to get his maiden century, and post that, he just played his natural game. The youngster also confirmed that the Indian team had decided on a minimum set of overs that they would make England play on Day 4 and was grateful that Kohli and co. let him get to his triple hundred before declaring.
"The most important thing was getting past the 20s and 30s. For me, it has always been about getting my first century out of the way. That's probably the pressure point for me. Once I've got the first 100, I've gone on to get bigger scores. Obviously, the nerves were there to get past the first milestone," Nair said.
"Once I got past that, I was my usual self - playing freely without any pressure. My only aim at that time was to get past England's total and try to build partnerships. Once I started getting into the flow, runs started to come much easily."
"Once I got past 200, there were a minimum set of overs given to us, because we wanted to give England a bat that evening. Even before we reached those overs, I was at the 280 mark. They were kind enough to allow me to take my time to get to 300. I'm thankful to Virat and the team management for showing that patience."
The Jodhpur-born batsman also reserved special praise for Virat Kohli stating that the Indian captain always leads from the front which in turn inspires others to follow his lead. He also singled out Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble for backing him during "crucial stages" in his career.
"It is very important to have a captain like that. A person who kind of pushes you to be like him or motivates you because he is so happy for you. When your captain is leading from the front and being so positive, it brings the team together. That's the best thing about Virat, he leads by example," Nair added.
"Rahul sir has always been there for me from the time I joined Rajasthan Royals. He's backed me at crucial stages of my career and urged me to go out there and express myself. When you go into the Indian team, you are in awe, at times you feel a little out of place, but having Anil sir there has been a huge comfort factor. I've known him for a long time, so he actually helped me a lot. He kept telling me that you can and you should make it big. That gave me confidence."