Karun Nair says he is a much-improved batsman than he was two years ago and has his focus firmly set on his comeback Test against Afghanistan rather than the following A tour of the United Kingdom.
I have become fitter. For one-and-a-half years I have been out of the team and making efforts to improve my skills. I have worked on batting and fitness. I scored runs in domestic cricket. I know for myself, I am a better batsman than what I was two years ago,” said Nair ahead of the one-off Test beginning here on Thursday.
If Nair makes the playing eleven, it will be his first international appearance since the Test against Australia in March last year.
A successful A tour of UK as captain can help him a secure a spot for the England series but Nair prefers staying in the present.
“For me, there is still a long way to go. I still have this Test match to play and ‘A’ series thereafter. I am not thinking so far ahead. Obviously, preparations also are going on for ‘A’ series. First and foremost, I would like to do well in this Test match and then move on,” said Nair, calling ‘A’ series as a good platform for players.
Talking about India’s opponents in the Bengaluru Test, Nair did not read much into words of Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai, who called his spin attack better than the hosts’.
“I think that is a pretty big statement to make, considering they haven’t played Test cricket I think all of our spinners are proven wicket-takers in Test cricket.”
Afghan spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran have been talked up highly ahead of the game with expectations that they will carry their stellar T20 form into five-day cricket.
Nair said both Rashid and Mujeeb will find Test cricket a different ball game.
“I have played Rashid in the IPL, but this is a different ball game. This is Test cricket. I don’t think he has played many red ball games. So, it will be new for everyone,” he said.