Nair-Pandey: Contrasting styles fashion success

DOUBLE TROUBLE Karun Nair (left) and Manish Pandey struck unbeaten half-centuries to guide Karnataka to a six-wicket over Rajasthan in their Ranji Tophy quarterfinal at the M Chinnaswamy Sadium in Bengaluru on Friday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

The combination of Manish Pandey and Karun Nair signifies the beauty of different styles of batting. While Pandey’s attacking approach can blunt any attack, Nair, a compact batsman, is a master in pacing his innings. Where the former is all flair and flamboyance, the latter stands out for his grit and gumption.

Over the years, both the batsmen have single-handedly won many games for Karnataka. And together, they have been involved in two 100-plus and eight 50-plus partnerships. On Friday at the Chinnaswamy stadium, Pandey and Nair, with their contrasting styles, once again underlined the value they add to the Karnataka batting line-up.

In tricky chases, clarity of thought is of paramount of importance. In the Ranji quarterfinal against a spirited Rajasthan, Pandey and Nair joined forces with a lot of work to do. Karnataka were still 128 runs adrift in their chase of the 184-run target. Both the batsmen were clear about their how they want to go about their roles.

Pandey isn’t someone who delays his charge. His positive frame of mind, irrespective of the situation, can unsettle the opponents’ rhythm. On Friday, Rajasthan were at the receiving end of his aggressive batting. In gathering boundaries for fun, he forced the Rajasthan bowlers to err in their lines and lengths and stray out of their plans. His risk-filled game can backfire at times but if it’s his day, which is the case more often, he can effortlessly take the game away from the opponents’ grip.

At the other end, Nair was Pandey’s perfect partner. On the third day of the contest, during which Karnataka lost three wickets in a testing period, Nair did well to survive. He was evidently not near his best. But he dug in and fought off nerves to remain unbeaten on 18. On Friday, Nair produced yet another trademark innings. He stripped all emotions out of his batting and played an ideal foil to his captain. Once he got his eyes in, the 27-year-old found boundaries with his customary ease.

Just like in bowling, batting too is all about complementing each other and not competing against each other. Pandey’s high scoring rate meant Nair didn’t feel the scoreboard pressure. And Nair’s resolute stay at one end encouraged Pandey to play his natural game.

“I just wanted to go in and look for runs. As a batsman it’s important to be positive. The intent to score runs should always be there. Being defensive might not work all the time,” Pandey said.

If history has taught us anything, it is to not doubt Nair’s big-game temperament. Pandey was all praise for his team-mate. “We always back players who have proved themselves. Karun is experienced and he has a huge hunger to get runs in big matches. He batted beautifully once he was set,” said Pandey.

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Nair-Pandey: Contrasting styles fashion success

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