Here is what Karun Nair’s Ranji teammate has to say on getting India ‘A’ call-up
Samarth becomes the third player from Karnataka to be selected in the India A squad, the other two being Karun Nair and Manish Pandey.
Updated - Jul 11, 2017 3:48 pm
Good things come to the ones who wait. R Samarth had a stellar season with the bat for Karnataka and was finally rewarded with a berth in the India ‘A’ squad which is due to travel to South Africa. It was a lucky break as the right-hander wasn’t initially a part of the squad before he replaced Abhinav Mukund, who will miss the tour as he has been selected to go to Sri Lanka with the Test team.
The BCCI didn’t make any announcement on Samarth’s selection but the Karnataka State Cricket Association confirmed the news that the opener was included as a late replacement of Mukund for the 2 four-day games against South Africa ‘A’ next month. Earlier, there was a cloud over the tour as Australia ‘A’, who were supposed to be the third team for a tri-series which was scheduled to precede the four-day games, pulled out of the tour. It is still not clear whether the One-Day series will be a bilateral one or another team will replace Australia in the tri-series.
Samarth was taken aback by the news
Samarth was busy training at the KSCA B ground when the good news of his selection arrived. “It came out of the blue, to be honest,” Samarth told Wisden India on the hearing the news while training at the KSCA B ground. “I was surprised to get that news in the afternoon. I never expected anything like that to happen because the squads were already announced. It feels great to have got this opportunity. It’s the first time I’ve been picked for India A. It’s something really special.”
Samarth’s Ranji Trophy season was a good one. In 9 games, the 24-year-old scored 702 runs at 46.80 with the best score of 235. Overall, the youngster has played 29 first class games scoring 2073 runs at 42.30. He has 5 hundreds and 9 fifties to his name. Samarth said that because he was scoring consistently, he was expecting a call-up.
“I’ve no expectations. I take whatever comes my way,” said the right-hand batsman. “I just prepare well and go with a positive mindset and hope for the best.
“I’ve been scoring runs consistently over the last four years. My first season was very short. But the other three seasons, I’ve done pretty well. I knew I was doing really well for my state so I knew it was going to happen sometime soon.”
Samarth will play under teammate Karun Nair
Incidentally, Samarth was practicing alongside Karnataka teammate Karun Nair, who is also a very close friend of the batsman. Karun is named as the captain of the India ‘A’ side which will help ease the nerves of Samarth.
“We both were practising at the KSCA ‘B’ ground when I got the call. He was extremely happy for me,” said Samarth. “We started out together in the U-13s and have graduated and played for Karnataka at the senior level.
“Definitely there will be an element of comfort because we’ve known each other for ten years. He being the captain makes things easier for me in terms of settling into the team.”