Mayank Agarwal's absence from their crucial Ranji Trophy game against Mumbai will be an opportunity for others to prove themselves, said Karnataka skipper Karun Nair, who attributed the India Test opener's success to years of consistent hard work.
Karnataka will miss the services of Mayank as he is set to leave for New Zealand with the A team on January 10 and BCCI has requested to exempt him from the upcoming Ranji game.
"Mayank is big player, but it (his absence) opens an opportunity for someone else to come and grab their chance," said Nair, who has played six Test matches for India.
In his short-international career, Mayank has already scored two double hundreds and Nair, who has watched the India Test opener from close quarters since his fledging days, on Thursday paid glowing tribute.
"I think, Mayank has always been a hard-working cricketer, so I think it was high time that the hard-work paid off," Nair said.
"It is just to do with his hard-work that he (Agarwal) is doing well now and I don't think he has changed much at all.
"It is just that with the runs that he got, his confidence also improved and then as a batsman confidence plays such a big role, it is all down to his hard work (rather) consistent hard-work that he is reaping the rewards."
The 28-year-old Mayank has played nine Test matches so far, scoring 872 runs, with three hundreds and as many fifties. He has hit two double hundreds, with a highest score of 243 versus Bangladesh at Indore.
Nair, himself has a triple hundred to his name for India but he last played a Test way back in March, 2017 against Australia in Dharamsala.
"For me it is about playing each game at a time and trying to contribute as much as I can to Karnataka and try to win games for Karnataka," he said.
"And that is what I am trying to do this season and looking forward to try and contribute more with the bat and as captain, so that we can go on and win games and all of us are looking to win the Ranji Trophy, so that's our ultimate goal."
Asked if he is looking beyond that, Nair quipped, "Not really, because it is important for me first to concentrate on what's happening over here and whatever has to happen, I have no control over it. My only focus is to do well here and contribute for Karnataka."