Karun Nair, Shreyas Gopal move out of Karnataka

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Karun Nair and Shreyas Gopal, two key members of Karnataka’s double-treble winning sides, have obtained NOCs from the KSCA to play for Vidarbha and Kerala, respectively, in the upcoming domestic season.
Nair, the former Karnataka captain, scored 11 hundred and 16 fifties in first-class cricket for the state, with a best of 328 in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy final against Tamil Nadu. The weight of those runs in only his second season put him in contention for a slot in the national side, with a Test debut coming a year later, against England, a series in which he became only the second Indian to score a triple-hundred in Test cricket.
At Vidarbha, Nair will be reunited with his one-time Karnataka teammate Ganesh Satish, with whom he won the Ranji Trophy for Karnataka in 2013-14. Nair will head into the new season on the back of an excellent club cricket stint in the UK.
In the time that Nair has found himself out, Karnataka have seen the emergence of two young middle-order batters Nikin Jose and Vishal Onat. Jose had a breakthrough season, scoring 547 runs in 13 innings at an average of 49.72 in the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy. His temperament came in for special plaudits, earning him a call-up to the India A squad for the recently concluded Emerging Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

Onat batted in just five innings, and had a mellower season in comparison, but the Karnataka selectors believe he is worth investing in. The presence of these two young batters, in addition to the experienced Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, R Samarth and Manish Pandey, could have made it difficult for Nair to get regular game time.

Meanwhile, Shreyas’ move to Kerala comes at a time when they are looking to strengthen their spin-bowling core alongside Jalaj Saxena, their other professional. Shreyas’ stint with Karnataka was no less rewarding.
He broke through in 2013-14 and picked up a hat-trick against Rest of India to clinch the Irani Cup. For a better part of the next five seasons, he was a key allrounder for Karnataka across formats. However, recently, as it happened with Nair, regular game time eluded him, especially in the white-ball formats, which led him to look for opportunities elsewhere.

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