India in England 2014 August 5, 2014

'Focused' Karn revels in 'inexplicable feeling'

Karn Sharma: 'I will treat [my India selection] as a fresh start and hope to continue doing what I have been doing all these years' © BCCI

A day after returning from a victorious India A campaign in Australia, Karn Sharma was relaxing with his family at his home in Meerut. Suddenly, his phone started to ring continuously with friends and well-wishers (and obviously journalists) flooding him with congratulatory calls. It took Karn a little while to realise that he had earned his maiden call-up to the India limited-overs squad for the England series'. Once it sank in, the Railways and Sunrisers Hyderabad legspinner said it was an "inexplicable feeling".

"Since I had fared quite well in whatever opportunities I got, I was hoping that my efforts would be recognised." Karn told ESPNcricinfo. "It's an inexplicable feeling now that my efforts have been rewarded with a place in the India squad. I am glad the day has come but I will treat it as a fresh start and hope to continue doing what I have been doing all these years."

Karn got only three games in the quadrangular one-day tournament in Darwin, his first series for India A. He displayed his allround skills against South Africa A, taking 2 for 35 in ten overs before cracking an unbeaten 39 off 16 at No. 9 to take India A home off the penultimate ball with one wicket standing. Karn said he knew he had to utilise whatever opportunities he got in Australia.

"It was an overwhelming experience, the first time I played for India A. This was the highest standard I was playing at and I didn't want to let myself and the team down. I knew since I was touring with the India A squad for the first time, I had to be patient till I got my chance and make the most of it once I got it. I am delighted that I could do it and contribute to the team's cause. When I was walking out to bat [against South Africa A], I knew that this could well be the only knock I will get in the tournament. Fortunately, all the shots that I tried came off that day."

The knock also drew praise from Abhay Sharma, the India A fielding and wicketkeeping coach. "He can grow into a very good one-day allrounder down the order," Abhay said. "He is the kind of batsman who will get you late runs under pressure. That is the how we have tried to develop him. He won us that match against South Africa A."

Abhay, also the Railways coach, has been working with Karn from his junior-cricket days with the domestic side. Abhay said he had been confident over the past five years that Karn would make it to the India side one day, especially as he learned to bowl under pressure.

"Initially he was a batsman who could bowl. But we saw that he adapted very quickly. According to me, he is one of the best spinners in the country in limited-overs," Abhay said. "We always knew he was going to make it. The skill part has been there, but what we have worked on with him is how to handle pressure situations. There will always be pressure in international cricket.

"He is now able to bowl in the Powerplay and at the death. We have seen what he can do in the IPL. It is because he bowls wicket to wicket. We have worked with him on the slider and also on getting the ball to drift in and then turn away, which is a difficult delivery for the batsman."

Railways players have to make do with modest facilities compared to cricketers with state associations, and Abhay said that had only sharpened Karn's approach. "He is always focused on the game. Even if you make him sleep in a simple dormitory, he will not bother about that at all and retain his focus."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RAJARAMAN on August 6, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    Karn Sharma ... congrats ... by the way, start praying for Jadeja to become unfit ... otherwise, you will be carrying drinks the whole of this series and will totally disappear in the next ...

  • Arun on August 6, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    Congratulations Karan... I saw lits of talent irrespective of team situation. You ans Samson that I could see to play at top level with top class. Please care your fitness. The stage is yours. Yoy will rock the international arena with Samson. Now it's upto dhoni to use the players or spoile the confidence. These two are much better than Rohith and Ashwin in ODI as of now. Hope will shine lot in T20 and testmmatches too. God bless you both.

    Guys Mishra is good player but there is something called how to thrive under pressure which is Mishra's low key. Class +Guts+ Skills = K and S

  • Sharath on August 6, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    He could be an ideal replacement for Jadeja..a leg spinner is always special in the scheme of things..can be an ideal foil for Ashwin in the middle overs.

  • Android on August 6, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    All the best to Karn Sharma. Feeling happy for him. I played against him couple of years ago nd I must say that he deserves to be there.

  • hafeez on August 6, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    Wish Karn the very best,he is a very effective T20 spinner for sure.

    Given his modest up bringing,one cant but be happy for him and his wife.

    Go Karn Go.

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    If you want a leggie why not go for Amit Mishra? If you want a allrounder why not go for Rishi Dhawan? There are already lot of spin allrounders in the team. Selectors may have bigger heads but i think some players are choosen just because of one or two good performance. karn is one of them. Stuart Binny took 6 wickets in bangladesh and he was picked for England test tour. I wish karn all the best and hope it will not be a paid trip for him. but i don't see India playing him ahead of Jadeja and Ashwin.

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2014, 1:10 GMT

    Plz any selector with some soul, brain and a working eye, wake up and pick Amit mishra for tests and one day. How can you forget that Mishra almost single-handedly took us to t20 finals. How can you forget English weakness against leg spin, how can you forget Sharne Warne destroyed team England.. and our boy Amit Mishra is in same style as Warne.. plz ignore IPL form and pick Mishra, he is awesome bowler and no mug with the bat. Any body with half the head and a working eye can see the loop, the turn, bounce and the googlies Mishra why ignore him unless you want to deliberately loose matches

    Team Dhoni is putting too much emphasis on bowlers who can bat and batsmen who can bowl or jump around the field. Karn is decent bowler and will learn fast but he is not there yet. He need to be part of India-A setup for some more time, need to develop guile to fool batsmen with flight or variations. I hope he does not go Rahul Sharma's way

  • Sudhir on August 6, 2014, 1:07 GMT

    Karn... India's all rounder of the future. Congrats on selection

  • anil on August 5, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Waiting to hear a lot of good things from this guy.....Go Karn.

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