Updated: November 21, 2017 5:56:41 pm
KL Rahul’s Test career, still in the early days, can be broken into two contrasting periods. The first was more of a all or nothing phase where he would either hit hundreds or get out cheaply while the other was a more consistent one. The right-hander has hit as many as 9 half-centuries in his last 11 Test innings for the country and is slowly cementing his position in the Test playing XI. Rahul was out for a golden duck in the first innings of the series opener against Sri Lanka but was among the runs in the second innings as he hit a 129-ball 79 and shared a 166-run stand with Shikhar Dhawan. This was India’s first 100-plus partnership in second innings since 2010.
In an interaction with BCCI’s official website, Rahul spoke about the challenges for an opening batsman and how he constructs his innings.
“As an opening batsman, you need to accept that you will get good balls at times and when you get a good ball and you get out, you don’t go back to the dressing room and beat yourself up about it. You try to keep a positive mind and try to come back stronger in the next innings or next game,” said Rahul.
After tasting failure in the first innings, Rahul had a positive plan for the second innings. With India looking to make a game out of it, the right-hander was looking to be aggressive.
“I went in with a clear plan to be aggressive and play my shots in the second innings. We were looking to make a game out of this. Message and responsibility was to try to get the team a good start and try to play at a good run-rate. Very good that we (Shikhar and I) were off to a great start and we carried on,” said Rahul.
With so many fifties in Tests, and not a single one converted into three figures, Rahul is certainly getting used to it. He is a little disappointed to miss out on hundreds but is not losing sleep over it.
“Then the way we batted on end of the fourth day. Yeah, little disappointed but I’m kinda getting used to not reaching the hundred. It has been eight or ninth time but it will come when it has to come. Quite honestly, I don’t know how to feel about it because it is better than getting out for the first ball of the match,” said Rahul.
“Somewhere down the line, I’m starting to think that I have to start converting these fifties. Obviously, I want every time I go out to bat, I want to get to the three-figure mark. The fifties and sixties are the hardest part to get but somehow I’m not able to convert. Look it is not a big headache for me as I’m able to give the start the team wants. Batting on wickets like this is great preparation when we are preparing for the series coming up,” he added.
India have a happy headache at top of the order with Rahul, Dhawan and Murali Vijay fighting it out for the two available spots. Rahul is motivated by the healthy competition.
“Look it keeps me motivated and determinate, knowing that a player like Vijay is sitting out as there is a lot of competition. Knowing this, it gives more motivation. A competition only keeps us motivated to get better and the three of us are great friends, we talk a lot about opening batting, a lot about building our innings and how to counter different attacks and challenges. There has been a great friendship but the competition has helped us to work on ourselves as individuals,” said Rahul.
On a challenging wicket like the Eden Gardens, Rahul didn’t curb his shots. Some looseners at the start of his innings definitely helped him get some runs and confidence.
“Honestly, I have curbed my shots. I love to play my shots and I have always played my cricket that way. but on a wicket like this, you need to adopt a little bit more and give yourself a little bit more time. For me, quite honestly, on a wicket like this, I try to play more shots cause I know one ball has my name on it. So, I might get as many as runs. Luckily for me, I got few half volleys to start off which helped me get going. I don’t feel like I will ever curb my shots,” said Rahul.
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