Batsman Karun Nair insists he is not too perturbed by his exclusion from the India Test squad for the Sri Lanka tour, after only four innings since becoming just the second Indian to get a Test triple-hundred. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo in Bengaluru a day after the squad was named, Nair conceded he should have "converted a couple of starts" in the Test series against Australia into "more substantial scores" to bolster his case, after the 303 not out against England in Chennai. Nair will instead travel with the India 'A' team to South Africa for a series of limited-overs and four-day matches at the end of the month.
"I will have to respect the decision of the team management and selectors," Nair said. "That's the way it goes and I am just focusing on South Africa now, the India 'A' tour, looking forward to it. It is going to be a new experience for me, I have never been to South Africa, so trying to just prepare myself and do well there.
"If I look back, I got a couple of starts which I feel I could have made into substantial scores. Those two starts I got were supposed to be converted, but you know that's how it goes for a batsman, sometimes you get starts and you are not able to convert them. I don't think there's any point talking about it right now. I am just looking forward to the season coming up and try to do better.
"Honestly, I was fortunate enough to get to play in the XI. So I was very happy, learning new things from everyone around and playing Test cricket. I was really enjoying myself and not thinking too much about it. But the competition is very high and it's healthy competition. There's nothing to worry about there, I am not thinking too much, just looking forward.
"It will be a new experience to go to South Africa for the first time, to experience those conditions and see how it is to play cricket there. It is a stepping stone to do well and get myself back into the Test team. Even looking at it that way, I am looking forward and just trying to be positive."
Nair has experienced an extended dry spell with the bat since the triple-hundred. In four innings against Australia, he made scores of 26, 0, 23 and 5 as India eked out a 2-1 series win. His form didn't get much better in the IPL - and he ended the season with 281 runs at an average of 21.61 as Delhi Daredevils failed to make the play-offs. Nair says the series against Australia was a lot more intense than England, and his failures in those matches affected him in the early phase of the IPL too.
"There was a lot a difference, the Australians were more at you. Even the English were good but the Australians had more aggression I felt," he explained. "And we had lost the first game and that made it even more difficult for us and it put them on a high because England never got a sniff also. That also helped Australia.
"At the end of the season, after the Australia series, I don't think I was in the right frame of mind because I was thinking too much about how I should be playing and how well I should be doing for Delhi rather than just looking at the ball and reacting. It took me half the season to realise I was doing that. The second half was a little better I felt, just looked at the ball and played how the ball came down. Those were the things I learnt this season."
Nair, 25, took over as captain of Daredevils when Zaheer Khan was unavailable due to injury. He will now be leading the India A team in the two four-day games in South Africa. Having led teams at Under-19 level, as well as Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy, Nair is convinced his quiet, easy-going personality won't be a hindrance in performing the role.
"Everyone has their own style," he said. "I don't think I should change who I am to try and lead eleven people. I can still lead them by being myself and do it in my way. I have been captain on several occasions and I just enjoy the fact that whenever I am captain I do well. So, I have that positive mind frame when I am captain. It has been the same case from the U19 days to the Ranji trophy last year when I captained, we did well and I scored runs. It is obviously an extra responsibility, but generally when I am batting that kind of feeling doesn't come."