Even after playing a crucial role in Karnataka's Ranji trophy victory recently, Rajasthan Royals' Karun Nair needed to have a man-of-the-match performance, like he did on Saturday night, to prove his ability in front of a larger audience.
The 22-year-old hailed skipper Shane Watson's tremendous support for his success so far in the IPL. The right-hand batsman played a knock to remember - an unbeaten 73 off 50 - to help RR manage a seven-wicket win over hosts Delhi Daredevils, in their first match in the Indian leg of the IPL 7.
"Watto [Watson] and the support staff really gave me the confidence and that really helped," Nair told in the post-match press conference. "I think he encourages us a lot. We play as a team and don't depend on any particular player. That's why I think we win most of the games playing as a team. Every one contributes to the team."
With scores of 8 and 1 in his previous two outings, Nair started cautiously and hit the accelerator, after the wicket of Sanju Samson fell at the other end, halfway through his innings.
"There is always a hint of pressure with every player," Nair admitted. "I was just looking to give myself a bit of time. I just thought I would stay till the end and play to the merit of the ball."
Asked if opening the batting for the Royals was a tough role after being a middle-order batsman for Karnataka, Nair said he was a natural opener.
"I was an opener first," Nair, who hit the winning six for Karnataka to end the state's 15-years Ranji drought, said. "At age group levels I was always an opener but there was no opening slot in Karnataka Ranji team so I had to come down the other. I think I adjusted really well."