KL Rahul grabbed the opportunity what he got at the top of the order in the absence of regular opener Shikhar Dhawan in the T20I series against West Indies, finishing with 164 runs from three innings which included a 56-ball 91 in the third game in Mumbai.
“I won’t say I won’t feel it at all. Obviously, going in and out of the team is never easy on any player,” KL Rahul said at the post-match press conference. “You take a little bit of time to get used to the international pressure and oppositions. There are no opposition where you can just walk in and score runs, so it’s always difficult and this game is all about confidence and all about being in good rhythm and being in good touch.”
“Having said that I can’t really sit outside and not prepare, all I can do is sit outside and prepare and try to create match feel for myself. I did play a lot of first-class cricket, so not a lot changes. It is still T20 cricket, so my processes and me being out there in the middle and trying to do what I do best, trying to stay in that rhythm is important for me. I have got that opportunity to go back to first-class cricket and play some games, gain confidence and come here and just continue to do that,” he added.
KL Rahul has been dropped from the Test squad and he went back to the domestic cricket helping Karnataka win the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy where he scored a whopping 313 runs from eight innings at a strike-rate above 155.
“It’s so important for a batsman or a bowler (or) for anybody for that matter to be in good rhythm, be out there in the middle,” he said. “No matter how much you train or how many hours you put in at the nets, when you go out in the middle it is completely different. So it is important that everybody stays match ready and they have enough runs behind them as batsmen and as bowlers and have bowled enough be it first-class cricket or any other format, it is important that we keep playing cricket and be in the middle. That’s helped me and I have always felt that’s what helps a batsman to stay in good rhythm, not putting hours in the net, I’d rather be in the middle playing games.”
“What’s in my control is to keep putting up these performances whenever I get the opportunity and I am not at that stage where I worry about whether I’ll find myself playing the next tournament or anything. Whenever I get the opportunity I want to win games for my team and be out there in the middle and enjoy my batting, that’s the place that I get most happiness right now – being in the middle and hitting the ball from the middle of the bat, so whenever that opportunity comes, I’ll like to grab and enjoy it,” he explained.
India have had issues while batting first in T20Is. They are comfortable in chasing. However, they won the final T20I while batting first. Rahul said this win will boost their confidence, but they have to stick to their strengths.
“We are looking to work on our first innings (batting first),” he said. “At times we’ve started thinking we have to get 200. That’s T20 cricket nowadays, no total is enough, you always feel 10-15 runs short At times you try to overachieve. It always happen when you’re batting first, not just in T20 cricket. We learn something new and today was a good confidence booster. We can learn from this innings, hopefully we can continue to do that more often and the results will go more our way.”
“Each team has its own strengths and team India, we do have big six hitters and all of us can hit sixes. More skill and we still manage to get 220-240 and it is not the first time that we have scored 200-plus. We have done it so often and we need to stick to our strengths and what works best for our team and what we are all blessed with is skill and we will try to use that and back our strengths,” he concluded.