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Indian Cricket Politics: Karun Nair Dropped after Triple Century
Nairs Triple Ton
A new star burst on the Indian cricket scene in the shape of Karun Nair. Batting at Chennai the 26-year-old stroked his way to 303 not out against England in the 4th test match at Chennai. India has been playing test cricket since 1932 and till date, only 2 players have been able to notch up a triple hundred. The first was Shewag who set the ball rolling with an innings of 309 against Pakistan. Sehwag hit 319 also against South Africa later to emulate Sir Don Bradman and Brian Lara as the only player to have hit a triple century twice.
The feat of scoring a triple century is a tribute to the technique and physical fitness along with an awesome concentration of a player. This was displayed by Nair as he set about his task. It was a rare feat and should have heralded a new star, but the vagaries of Indian cricket overtook him and he found himself in the wilderness. It started by Nair being dropped for the T-20 and the One-Day series against England. Even Harbhajan Singh the famous India spinner with over 400 test wickets commented adversely on twitter
It is in fact, a wonder that Nair was dropped further even from the test team to face Bangladesh. Bow facts have come out that the man who carried out this "execution" was none other than the Indian captain Virat Kohli. In the process, he established a dubious record in the world of cricket. It was the first time that a player who hits a triple century is dropped from the team. It has never happened. There is a case of Andy Sandham who was dropped after he hit 325 against West Indies, but Andy was injured and he was over 40 and thus did not play again.
The Vagaries of Indian Cricket
The dropping of Nair at the behest of Kohli is nothing new and throughout the last 70 years of test cricket, Indian never achieved its potential as a world beater. It is food for thought that India has never been able to beat Australia and South Africa on their home ground in an away series. Even winning against New Zealand is a nightmare after "Tiger" Pataudi led India to a 3-1 victory in a series in 1968.
Another aspect that has dominated Indian cricket is a rivalry. In sports, a rivalry is a good thing as it brings out the best in a player. But when it is tinged with jealousy the results are not good for the game. One can recollect that Gavaskar got Kapil Dev dropped from the test team against England in 1983. It was an act that defied logic. Even the two Vijays, the doyens of Indian cricket Merchant and Hazare played more against each other than for the country. One can recollect that in the Delhi test match in 1951 against the MCC, both the Vijay batted for full 2 days and allowed England to steal a draw from certain defeat as their aim was to outdo each other and not win for India. This is brought out by Brian Statham, the English pace bowler in his autobiography. One can recount tens of incidents and
One can recount tens of incidents and such happenings in Indian cricket. So from that point, it is nothing new that Karun Nair is dropped after hitting a triple century. But the damage to the game in India is incalculable. Here is a player dropped after a triple century and even if at a later stage he is given another chance, the likelihood of failure is more and there is a good chance that the career of Nair may well be over and the loser will be India.
Kohli's has a Lot to Answer
Virat Kohli is the Indian cricket captain who is presently riding on a high. He is India's best batsman, but there is a tinge of arrogance in him. In a way, it is justified as he has been hitting runs by the hundreds. But he to the opinion of many does not have the interest of Indian cricket as he blithely announced at a press conference that Rahane would replace Nair. It was an arrogant statement and reflected something more than team selection. Now Kohli for all his batting prowess has never hit a triple century in any form of the game. Let alone test cricket he has not crossed 300 even once in any league or first class game.
Some humans cannot tolerate competition and be eclipsed and one can conjecture and wonder if this is the reason behind dropping of Nair. What if Nair had hit another 300 like Shewag? Maybe Kohli wanted to obviate that possibility and thus dropped him. Even if Nair comes back a season or two later the magic would be gone as he would be struggling to cement his place. He may well fail then and Kohli would have destroyed not only the career of Nair but greatly harmed Indian cricket. With this approach, I don't see Indian winning abroad, Kohli or no Kohli. That is bad for Indian cricket.