KL Rahul is getting limited opportunities to play for the Indian team but he is making every single chance count and one can say that if continues to do so he will soon become a regular player in the playing XI. In every Test series that he has played except the one-off Test in Bangladesh, he has scored one century and one impressive thing about all those centuries is that all of them came outside of India in difficult conditions. After playing an innings of 158 in the second Test against West Indies at Jamaica, the Karnataka batsman spoke to the media on various topics ranging from his knock, West Indies bowling and much more.
On the difficulties he faced during his knock:
The biggest challenge was obviously the weather, it was a very hot day. When I went into bat yesterday, the wicket was still a little two-paced and a little damp, and the ball was doing a little bit. Those were the challenges but once I got a few runs under my belt and once I spent a little time on the wicket, I felt comfortable.
On Shannon Gabriel’s bowling:
I think he bowled really good areas and he was challenging in every spell. We obviously know that Gabriel is one of their strike bowlers, and West Indies look at him for wickets. He comes in short bursts, in 3-4 overs, tries to bowl quick and get a few wickets. Our plan with him was to see him through and give the ball the respect it demanded and put the bad balls away. I think we did very well today and yesterday.
On his slow partnership with Pujara:
Well look, you probably have to give a little credit to the West Indies bowlers as well. They came in with a set plan this morning, to keep it tight and not give away easy runs. They tried to bowl the fourth-fifth stump channel. The wicket obviously isn’t the easiest to bat on. It is a little spongy sometimes, and two-paced. So you couldn’t play through the line or go after the bowlers when they bowled those channels.
It’s a Test match, you have all the time in the world. We have bundled them out for 180 (196), and we still had four days to go. We were in no hurry, so we could take our time and wait for the loose balls. I think we played really well in the first session. We gave the West Indies bowlers, and the lengths and lines they were bowling, the respect it demanded. At the end of the day, we have still got the amount of runs we wanted to get. We are very happy as a batting unit.
On whether the pitch is assisting the bowlers after tea:
Look, obviously, on any wicket you play, there is obviously a little bit of assistance for the fast bowlers, and on this wicket, since yesterday it has been doing a little bit with the new ball. I think they bowled really well from the first ball this morning, they kept the pressure on us and didn’t give easy runs. They got a couple of wickets in the last session.
All in all, we’re happy as a batting unit, we went out there and got the runs that were needed at the end of the day. We did everything that we spoke about. Sometimes, bowlers do put the ball in the right areas and get wickets, that’s what they’re there for. We’re happy and there are no complaints at the end of the day.
On whether his career has been great so far:
Yeah I think, so far it has been really good. The last couple of months, I’ve been performing well. I’ve been consistent in all the three formats and that’s what I want to do as a cricketer, to be consistent in all the three formats. Go out out there, and play to the best of my abilities and play my roles and responsibilities for the team. Right now I’m in a good space. I’m only watching the ball and trying to judge the ball. If I think the ball is there to be hit, I’m hitting the ball. That doesn’t change. That’s the only thing that doesn’t change with T20, One-day or four-day cricket – when the ball is there to be hit, you hit the ball. That’s the only thing that runs in my mind. I’m very happy with the space I’m in and the focus levels have been great.
To have Virat and Ashwin and the other guys speak highly of me definitely gives confidence and I think that’s the best thing about this young team. Everyone believes in each other and everybody knows that we are the best guys on the team and any given chance and any challenges that we face, we know that there are eleven guys who are willing to go out there and give it their best and perform and do it for the team.
I’m in great space and overall, the team is feeling very confident and we’re loving playing with each other.
On Cheteshwar Pujara.
I think he’s batting really, really well. I think his judgment outside the off-stump was fabulous and his discipline was really good. When the bowler keeps bowling the fourth-fifth stump channel, the easiest thing to do is to try and place down the third man or try and go over cover or point. You may connect one or two, but you could give a catch to the slips. He did the hard thing. He did the hard yards, but unfortunately he got out at the wrong time. Had he stayed till the end, he would have scored 100 more runs in the next two sessions. It’s unfortunate, but I think he’ll be happy that he is doing his processes right. The outcome is sometimes not in our hands. We know how much of a run-hungry guy he is and it will make him hungrier and I’m sure big runs are coming his way in the third and fourth Tests.