Nowadays it is very tough to find a batsman who can bat with ease in all the three formats of the game. And one can say that young Indian batsman KL Rahul is one of those few batsmen. Rahul has got very limited chances so far in his short career but has grabbed the opportunities with both hands. What is even more satisfying about his performances is the fact that he performed well in overseas condition. Speaking to the Times of India, the right-handed batsman spoke on various topics ranging from his consistency, role of IPL in his career, the relation between openers and more.
On the secret to his consistency:
There is nothing physical you can do to improve consistency. It is about the state of mind and how hungry you are to perform. After the South African series, where I didn’t play a game, we had a long break until the IPL. It was in those 4-5 months that I analysed my one-year-old international career. I had done reasonably well, had scored a couple of hundreds, but I realised if I had to play all the three formats I had to be more consistent. What I do now is to take each game seriously and enjoy the process.
On the personal gains from the West Indies tour:
It was my approach to batting and attitude. The night before the Jamaica Test, I was reflecting on the last 100 I got in a day match. It was some 13 months ago in Sri Lanka and I hadn’t played a day match since then. I decided I will do what I have been doing in the last six months. Even in the one-dayers or T20s, I’m never looking to manufacture shots. I told myself that it doesn’t change when you are playing Tests. The basics remain the same.
On the role of IPL in his meteoric growth:
It has had a massive impact on my career. I have learnt so much from international players. In my debut season, I learnt a lot of training alongside seniors like Virat (Kohli), AB de Villiers, Zaheer Khan, Daniel Vettori and Chris Gayle. This year I got the opportunity I was waiting for – to bat at a fixed order at the top. At the beginning, I needed 6-7 balls to get into the groove but I knew it would change with a couple of good innings. I always had that belief. But for others to believe that I could perform in all the three formats, it needed consistent performance and that happened to me with this year’s IPL.
On the positives gained due to playing in different overseas conditions so early in career:
A lot of positives. Thankfully I got to play abroad before I played in India. In Australia, a lot of batsmen have struggled in those conditions and Sri Lanka is not the easiest of places to play. It is tough because you haven’t played in those conditions and at that level before. You start doubting yourself and feel you don’t belong there. Sometimes you have no answers to a few balls bowled at you. But those situations teach you a lot. To overcome that and get whatever runs I have got gives me so much confidence. In fact, much more than what I would have got playing six Tests in India and scoring five centuries.The overseas tours have made me a stronger individual and I’m glad it happened early in my career.
On the relationship between openers:
Honestly, there is no insecurity in the team, not only among openers but the whole team. We are all young, enjoy each other’s company and keen to learn. Most of us have played less than 30 Tests, so each of us are trying to make a mark. The friendship and camaraderie in the team is very good. We are not just friendly on the field but great friends off it too. All the 15 players are on the same page, trying to achieve something. We will achieve the No. 1 Test position shortly and the challenge for us from there on will be how long will remain No. 1.
On working with Anil Kumble:
It was easy. We didn’t feel he was with the team for the first time. He has kept things simple. He was upfront and clear. He told us our responsibilities and what was expected of us. That made it so much easier for us. We just went out there, prepared and played with a clear mind. He played until recently, so he understands what the players go through. The team activity codes have been set straight and everybody likes it. There is more discipline and commitment and the Test series win has been a great start for us as a team.