Coming in from a team where he was the local boy and one of the crowd favourites, Karun Nair took little time to adjust to the Punjabi culture of Kings XI Punjab. Though he batted up the order in unfamiliar territory this VIVO Indian Premier League season, he managed to get a few decent scores. But his inability to capitalise on those and score the big runs often invited criticism.
In an exclusive interview with kxip.in, the Karnataka skipper opened up about what he learned from the trying season, the brilliant team atmosphere in the KXIP dressing room that instantly put him in his comfort zone, his Karnataka mate Lokesh Rahul, and revealed some fun facts about his team mates. Read on.
How would you sum up the entire season for KXIP?
It was a season of two halves, which was obvious to everyone. We were quite dominant in the first half, winning 5 of the 7, and then we just hit a bad patch and few games were lost. We had a few close games and then we were not able to get up from there; which can happen with any team. With our team it shouldn’t have happened! Having said that, now there is nothing that we can do. We can just look forward to next year and come back stronger next year.
Which was your favourite moment personally from the IPL this season?
Personally, getting a fifty in the first match was one of my favourite moments.
And team wise, the match against Delhi in Delhi where we had a low total and we had to defend that. We all pitched in together, it was a collective effort, which was really nice. That was one of the best moments as a team!
What would you like to take back from this season?
It was a season where I was batting brilliantly. It was just that I got out too many times in the 20s and 30s. That is something that I have to work on. If I do get into those situations again I have to make sure that I play till the 20th over.
Whatever situation I came in, it was a new experience for me and I should have made sure that I have played the 20 overs. That is some critical learning I got. I needed to make better use of my potential and the form I was batting in this year.
How easy was it for you to adjust to the new team?
We had a brilliant atmosphere, first of all. The coaching staff, the management, everyone made it a point that everyone felt comfortable and everyone felt like a family which was really nice and that helped us to bond together very easily. It never felt like we were playing for the first time and it is the first season for us.
It was a nice atmosphere to be a part of and I am sure the bond only gets stronger, and we are going to keep getting better. With so many youngsters in the team, it’s a good sign for the years to come.
Whom did you enjoy batting with the most this season?
I will be honest and say Rahul was really enjoyable to bat with because we played together since we started playing cricket. That was the easiest thing for us to do. I was always felt comfortable batting with him because we know each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We know what to say, what are the right things to say in the middle and what not to say.
And if someone is struggling the other one takes up the initiative to go after the bowlers. I really enjoyed batting with Rahul, even though we did not bat too much. But, whenever we did, we did quite well.
Any message for the KXIP fans?
The support has been amazing this year. Whatever I heard from everyone else, I think the support this year has been the best. We would like to have the same support every year and keep growing. We would like to thank the fans. We know we didn’t make it till the end but we did play some entertaining cricket and for sure we are going to get stronger and better next year and hopefully entertain the people of Punjab and whoever supports us all round the world. I think there are good times ahead, so keep supporting us. Thank you so much for the support this year.
On a lighter note, have you managed to learn any Punjabi being with Kings XI this year?
I didn’t learn much. But I did learn some special words which I can’t say in public. (Laughs)
And according to you, someone in KXIP who is…
The most fun person: Chris Gayle, he embodied the Live Punjabi Play Punjabi spirit
The most serious person: Ravichandran Ashwin
The most likely to win in a street fight: Marcus Stoinis
The best sense of fashion: David Miller
The best bhangra dancer: Barinder Sran
The most likely to sing at a party: Chris Gayle