After a breakthrough series against Zimbabwe, KL Rahul on Wednesday talked about being branded as a Test specialist and said that he always knew he had the skills to do well in every format. The 24-year-old also won the Player of the Series award after scoring 196 runs from three matches.
Two months of IPL and the ODI series against Zimbabwe has clearly changed KL Rahul’s stature in Indian cricket. The Karnataka lad, who made his debut in the longer format against Australia in the Boxing day Test of 2014, has emerged as a potential opener for India in all three formats, shedding the tag of a Test specialist. Talking to bcci.tv after India secured a ten-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the last match of the three-match ODI series, Rahul said that he always saw himself as a good enough cricketer to succeed in all formats.
"Coaches or your players in the dressing room can tell you you're not good enough for certain formats, but I never thought they were right. I knew I was blessed with certain skills, so I stuck to that, I worked really hard on my game, and made sure my strengths became so strong that every time the ball was there, it went for a boundary.
"I worked on my weaknesses, made sure I got a lot fitter, because, in ODIs and T20s, you need to do a lot of running. Rotating the strike becomes very important, so you need to be quick and you need to be fit for that. Obviously, if you're a good fielder, it adds an edge to you. You can save 10-15 runs on the field; definitely, that gives you an edge over another player. The captain always loves having good fielders in the team.
"My advice would be not to listen to people. I mean, obviously, you have to listen to your coaches and your elders, but you don't have to do what they say all the time. You know best about your game - go out there, be yourself and express yourself. If someone says you can't do something, prove them wrong," Rahul said.
Apart from his batting exploits, Rahul is also keen to improve his wicketkeeping skills and said that he used the time with Indian captain MS Dhoni to learn from him.
"When he makes a few changes on the field and I don't understand why he has done that, I go up to him and ask him why he made that change. He'd explain why, what was the thought process of moving the fielder somewhere or giving someone the ball over somebody else.
"Also with keeping stuff, I just asked a few things today, because standing behind the stumps on wickets like this, the ball wobbles after it beats the batsman and that is really difficult for the wicketkeeper to collect. So I asked him if he does something differently.
My advice would be not to listen to people. I mean, obviously, you have to listen to your coaches and your elders, but you don't have to do what they say all the time. You know best about your game - go out there, be yourself and express yourself. If someone says you can't do something, prove them wrong
"He stands in different positions for different bowlers, and we have three extremely different bowlers. Dhawal (Kulkarni) is wicket to wicket and has a very nice action,
The Karnataka lad also praised the bowlers for the series whitewash and said that a lot of credit should go to them.
"I think a lot of credit goes to the bowlers and the way they've come out there and executed their plans. We spoke about pitching the ball up because there was some movement in the wicket, and the wicket was assisting the bowlers. But to come out there and execute the plans in all three games was great to see. I thoroughly enjoyed fielding and catching and watching the bowlers bowl. Credit goes to the boys and the way we've all worked together," Rahul told bcci.tv.
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