Amassing 659 runs at an average of 54.91 in 14 matches for Kings XI Punjab in this year’s IPL, KL Rahul was the third-highest scorer in the tournament apart from scoring the fastest half-century in the tournament’s history. The 26-year-old Indian cricketer also donned the wicket-keeping gloves for KXIP and the opener believes that the IPL experience will add to his confidence ahead of the packed schedule of the Indian cricket team. Rahul was in Mohali to watch the final of the Red Bull Campus Cricket National Finals at I S Bindra PCA Stadium.
“I have always believed that one has to play according to the situations in cricket. Especially in the T-20 format where every ball is an event. The game changes with every ball and one needs to adjust his game according to what the team needs. Whether it’s a single, four or a six. Whatever cricket I played for India in the last 2-3 years, I used that experience in this IPL and played with a clear mind. Sometimes, the best performances come when the mind is calm and one plays with a free mind. That’s what I did in IPL. My focus was that I should be the person to finish the game for the team. As a player, you want to face such kind of situations where you are able to finish the task for the team. And such situations can even come in a World Cup semi-final or final. So, this IPL taught me a lot and helped my game mentally as well,” shared Rahul.
The Karnataka batsman, who made his debut for the Indian cricket team in 2014 during the Test series against Australia, has so far played 23 Tests apart from 10 ODIs and 15 T-20s. While injuries have seen the cricketer missing some tournaments in the past, Rahul’s IPL performance has once again put the spotlight on him. With the Indian team playing against Afghanistan this month in the historic maiden test followed by the England tour, Rahul hopes to carry his form ahead. Rahul had averaged 28.66 and 7.50 in the last two Test series against Sri Lanka and South Africa, respectively, and the batsman terms the England tour as one of the challenges before next year’s ODI World Cup in England.
“Obviously playing in the World Cup is a dream but it is still a year away. A lot can happen in one year. I just want to take it one game at a time and whatever opportunities I get in whichever format. I have never played in England before and I have only watched the past matches on TV. If you play in India, you know the home conditions well but you also want to be challenged. And, if you can perform well in England and Australia, it will make you more experienced. We will be playing the T-20 and ODI series before the Test series and it will help us acclimatise to the conditions first. When my first Test hundred came in Sydney in 2014, I remember my name being placed on the honours board. If I can hit a century at Lord’s, it will be a moment to remember for me,” said Rahul.
The opening batsman also termed Afghanistan’s maiden Test match against India as an important one and termed it as a good opportunity ahead of the England tour. “Afghanistan is a very good team and they will be a big name in international cricket in the next 10-12 years. I played along with 17-year-old old spinner Mujeeb Zadran for Kings XI Punjab and the way he handled the pressure and bowled during the tournament speaks about his talent. Same goes for Rashid Khan, who was exceptional for Sunrisers Hyderabad,. No batsman was able to read him and facing their spin-heavy bowling attack will be a good challenge for the Indian team,” added Rahul, who had also played in the Red Bull Campus Cricket finals in 2013.