Playing for the Indian cricket team is a momentous occasion. It's a product of blood, sweat and tears and the toil of a cricketer and his loved ones. So, when Karun Nair made his first appearance for the Men in Blue in One Day Internationals, it called for a celebration.
For that, his family had organized a puja at the Sree Parthasarathy temple in Kerala. He was travelling to the temple in a big snake boat in the river Pampa -- during the famous 'Aranmula Valla sadya', a local boat race -- when it suddenly capsized as it was reaching the temple, leaving the Karnataka batsman stranded in the water without a life-jacket.
Miraculously, the fairly-religious Karun managed to stay afloat. Perhaps with divine intervention…
"I did not know how to swim and I was stuck there without a lifejacket or anything," he says. "Thankfully, there were many people on the boat who knew that I didn't know to swim so they were all there for me
"Obviously I was in a state of panic but luckily nothing much happened," he adds. "I was lucky, if I had gone underwater I don't think I would be here today."
The near-death experience showcased his resilience as he managed to recover from an incident that would have left most traumatised. Only a few months after the episode, Nair scored that scintillating triple hundred against England at Chepauk.
However, that wasn't the first time the Karnataka man had got a triple, having scored a match-winning 328 in the 2015 Ranji Trophy final against Tamil Nadu in an innings which saw him bat for almost three full days. It was his first triple hundred at any level.
"It was quite satisfying because I hadn't got many runs that season," he looks back. "I was getting the starts but couldn't get any big scores, so to score a triple in the final was very satisfying and to help the team to win was even better."
The middle-order batsman, who superstitiously always wears his left pad first, was indeed struggling for form that season, averaging a meagre 27.21 until that final. However, yet again the batter silenced his critics by showing immense tenacity to overcome his trepidation with the bat.
"I have been always resilient," he declares. "And I am somebody who wants to play the long innings."
Nair also went on to do the historic 'treble double' with the Karnataka side as they won the Ranji Trophy, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well as the Vijay Hazare Trophy for the years 2014 and 2015 — an achievement that Nair believes was the highlight of his Karnataka career.
"Sometimes, when you are going through a lean patch, you want to be scoring every game but it doesn't happen," he reflects. "And then when you get this opportunity you try make the most of it and just make up for the times when you didn't get the runs.