Life has changed in a matter of few hours for Karun Nair, India’s second triple centurion in Tests. His unbeaten 303 against England has put him in the same bracket as Garry Sobers and Bob Simpson on account of converting a debut century into a triple ton.
Soon after reaching the coveted milestone, Nair said that the pressure of approaching a triple hundred pales when one has survived a near death experience, as he recalled a boat accident in Kerala, which he survived earlier this year despite now knowing how to swim.
In July this year, when on a visit to the "Valla Sadya" celebration of the Sree Parthasarathy temple, near his home town, the boat he was travelling in with around 100 others, capsized. The locals swung into action and rescued him and the others.
“I didn't know how to swim. People there rescued me and I was lucky to live again,” said Nair. The life grace definitely proved lucky for the batsman as he went on to score an unbeaten 303, shattering many records on the way.
Needless to say, it was an emotional moment for Karun Nair’s family as the Bengaluru boy acknowledged the cheers after smashing his maiden triple ton. Karun’s father Kaladharan revealed that Karun was a “premature baby” born just eight months into pregnancy. And surprisingly, this contributed to his parents enrolling him in a coaching academy as a kid.
“He was a premature baby. As a kid, he had a few issues as a result of this. He would be a bit fidgety at times. His lung capacity was a bit weak as a kid. Thus, he was advised to do physical activities and exercises. So we took him to the ground,” Times of India quoted Kaladharan as saying.
Kaladharan said that they were at times scared whether their son would get hurt.
“What if he falls, cries... gets injured... we knew he was a premature baby. We were even scared a few times. But then he slowly developed. I never thought that he would play for India at the start, but when he made it to the Karnataka team I believed he could make it,” added Kaladharan.
Nair’s father also said that while he was born premature, but “cricket was in his blood from age 10” when he started playing on the streets.
“We – my wife also – are in the stadium watching our son play this innings. Right from age 10, cricket was in his blood and he has come up the hard way by playing. He played five years of First Class cricket and then two years in the Ranji circuit before reaching here,” said Kaladharan.
The 25-year-old batsman said that there were nerves during each of the milestones on 99, 199 and 299.
"Obviously, there are some nerves. You can't be thinking negative at that point. You just have to watch the ball and just get over that moment. You just have to feel that moment, being there."
Karun said that he is currently overwhelmed by emotions which he is not being able to express.
"There are a lot of things that is going in my mind that I want to do but at that moment, it just doesn't come out. I think I will just have to get more hundreds for me to show emotion."
Karun said that he feels sorry that his close buddy KL Rahul got out on 199.
"Like he (Rahul) said we started playing cricket together. It's just that we have been together since then. At every stage, if he has gone ahead I have caught up. Or if I have gone ahead, he has caught up. So I think that healthy rivalry is good. I feel bad for him that he did not get the double hundred but I think he will get one very soon."