After putting up a string of brilliant performances across formats, KL Rahul credited his orthodox batting style as the reason for his recent success. The batsman also put down any queries about any insecurities in the team despite the shifts at the top of the order his rise has brought about.
KL Rahul may not be as stylish a batsman like Rohit Sharma or as elegant as Virat Kohli. But by keeping the perfect orthodox technique as his prime forte, he has shown enough resilience to become one of the best openers for India. After scoring century after century in his short international career so far, he is looking forward to the long stretch of home season to cement his place in the side.
Opening up in an exclusive interview with the Times of India, he stressed on the importance of his state of mind for his success and the camaraderie of the openers both on and off the field.
“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 100s, but I realized 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.”
He emphasized on the art of orthodox cricket that has reaped him rewards in all three formats. When he scored a century in a losing cause in the T20I against West Indies at Florida last week, he became only the third Indian batsman after Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma to score a century in each format of the game.
“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 T20's, 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” he said to TOI.
Playing in overseas conditions all throughout his International career has grown his confidence manifold.
Emphasizing on the positives taken out of it, he said, “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.”
The inconsistency of Sikhar Dhawan and the injury to Murali Vijay has allowed him a place in the side. But Rahul insisted that there is no bad blood in the dressing room despite the intense competition.
Rahul said, “Honestly, there is no insecurity in the team, not only among openers but in the whole team. We are all young, enjoy each other's company and keen to learn. Most of of us have played less than 30 Tests, so i 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.”
The Karnataka batsman also emphasized the role of the coach, Anil Kumble, in the team and how he brings the team together.
“We didn't feel Anil Bhai 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,” he concluded.