KL Rahul. (Photo Source: ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
KL Rahul discusses his return to fitness, the on-going Australia challenge, how he plans to deal with people requesting him for World Cup tickets, and his World Cup aspirations.
As told to JioCinema:
Everyone has been worried about your injury and fitness, can you settle the score right now and let everyone know about your status?
Everyone has seen me playing in the Asia Cup, I played all the games in the Super Fours. I kept behind the wickets, batted and scored runs as well, so I think that question is answered for everyone who were concerned about my fitness. Hopefully, I’ll carry on in the same way with a big two months coming up with the World Cup and the Australia series.
What did you add to your preparation routine to ensure you could keep and bat?
I knew when I would return to the side, I’d have to keep wickets and bat… The physical challenges are a lot more compared to when I am only batting. I knew this, so I worked very hard on my fitness. As cricketers, we know the challenges that we will have to face on the field and we try to replicate that at training and practice sessions.
You are captaining in the first two ODIs, wicket-keeping and batting. Do you like to put yourself under pressure before a big series?
The team management has shown a lot of faith in me in the last two years. They keep giving me more responsibilities which shows that they believe and trust in my abilities. It gives me a lot of confidence and I also enjoy taking the responsibility. It makes life and playing cricket a lot more fun.
What difference do you see batting as an opener or batting at No.4 or 5?
All my life, I have batted as an opener. At the top of the order, you are creating the game yourself. Even when you are chasing, you know you need to score a particular score. You go in with zero baggage. There is no pressure of falling wickets or required run rate. But when you bat in the middle order, you have the situation in front of you and then need to act accordingly. That’s the only major difference. I have been lucky that I have got enough games in the middle order to understand and adapt. Batting at positions 4 and 5 are not too different but yes, there is a big difference between opening and batting in the middle order.
How do you handle people asking you for match tickets?
If anyone messages me for match tickets, I am not going to respond. Not trying to be arrogant or rude, just want to stay away from that and focus on the game. This is a message to all my family members and friends, if you’re thinking about messaging me for tickets, please don’t.
Where were you when MS Dhoni hit the six in the 2011 World Cup final?
I was in Bangalore and watching the games with a few friends. I remember when we lost two quick wickets, all of us thought the game was gone. Later, when we won, we ended up driving to the busiest area in Bangalore and it was a scene, everyone was jumping and celebrating. It was a proud moment for all of us as Indians and hopefully, we can recreate it for the people in our country.
Are Australia the best test possible before the World Cup?
I think so, they’re coming into the World Cup as one of the favourites. They’ve got some great players, some we play IPL with and we can see the impact they have. They come to India a lot, they know our pitches and conditions as well as we do. This series will all be about how each team brings their skills to the forefront. So, yes, really excited about the series and this is the best way to challenge ourselves before the World Cup.