Rajasthan Royals batsman Karun Nair, who fashioned the team's emphatic win over Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League 2014, says encouragement from captain Shane Watson and mentor Rahul Dravid is helping him perform as an opener.
With Dravid now watching the action from the sidelines, Nair has been batting alongside Ajinkya Rahane at the top.(Scorecard | Highlights | Schedule | Points Table)
The Karnataka batsman's unbeaten 73 off 50 balls not only ensured the team chase Daredevils' 152 for five with ease, the solid knock could help him establish his place in the Rajasthan playing eleven.
"There is always pressure when you have got quality batsmen waiting in the dug-out. I was looking to give myself little more time in the middle and Watto and the support staff backed me to do well. That really helped," Nair said of his effort.
"Even Rahul [Dravid] just told me to play with confidence and take more time at the centre. He has been of great help," said the 22-year-old, who last year scored three hundreds for Karnataka in his debut Ranji Trophy season, helping his team win its first Ranji title in 15 years.
Asked how has the experience been as an opener after coming lower down the order for Karnataka, Nair said, "I used to open at the junior levels but there was no opening slot in the Karnataka Ranji team. Back opening again, I think have I adjusted really well."
Talking about his IPL team, Nair felt Royals are gelling well as a team under Watson's leadership, he said, "He encourages all the youngsters. We play as a team and are not depended on a particular player. I think that is why are winning most of the matches," said Nair of his team which is third in the points table with four wins out of six games.
Nair signed off by saying that it will be interesting to see how the team plays at its new home in Ahmedabad, leaving the 'fortress' at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.