The Indian Test opener KL Rahul, who missed the one off Test in Dhaka due to dengue fever, said his competition with Shikhar Dhawan for the opener’s spot is healthy sign for Indian cricket. In the absence of Rahul in Fatullah Dhawan, the man he replaced as opener in the Sydney Test, to return to the top of the order. Dhawan made the most of the opportunity, scoring his third Test hundred. As Murli Vijay cemented his place in the team as an opener, Rahul recognised it could well be a toss-up again between him and Dhawan for the second opener’s slot when India play their next Test match.
Rahul has recovered from his illness now and is back to training at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. He says the main focus for him ahead of the next international season is to get “fitter and stronger.”
“Shikhar has done well in the last couple of years,” Rahul told a website. “I took his spot and he has got it back. I am really happy for him as he batted well. He has been doing well in all formats, and even in Australia I felt he was batting well. We would want competition like that. Even if he would not have got those runs in Bangladesh, he was always going to be there as he has done so well for the country. We have as good relationship and we play for the same IPL team. So we talk a lot about batting and he has always helped me,” Rahul stated.
Rahul on his international debut at Melbourne was dismissed for 3&1. But he bounced back with a hundred in his second Test at Sydney at the start of the year. He admitted that he felt “100 kgs lighter” after that performance, having played a couple of poor shots led to his dismissal on debut.
“I’ll take it one match at a time and don’t want to think far ahead and put pressure on myself,” the 23 years old Karnataka Ranji player said. He is confident about the upcoming opportunity in the subcontinent. “definitely, it is a good opportunity as all the Test matches are in India or the subcontinent where the conditions are batting friendly. It will be challenging because we play good international side,” he observed.
The right hander was found in the national academy working on his skills, and confident about Test series coming ahead. “I have used this time away to work on my skills where I was lacking and looking to get better and do well in the Test matches coming ahead.”
Rahul finished among the leading run scorers in the Ranji Trophy over the last couple of seasons. Like Cheteshwar Pujara, Rahul has also been considered as Test specialist batsman. Although, he averages over 41 in his 28 List A (50 over games); his t20 record more impressive, in the IPL Rahul has scored 328 runs in his 25 games. Now, he wanted to change the nation.
“I did really well in my first year of the domestic one day cricket,” Rahul said. “I am still young and new to international cricket and there is a lot to learn. Shorter formats are something I am working on. I am sure that the confidence that I get from scoring a lot of runs in four day cricket can be carried over to the shorter formats and I am confident that I can be successful there like I have been in days cricket and Tests matches.”