Indian opener KL Rahul asserted that skipper Virat Kohli’s trust in him worked as a confidence booster and made the difference as he scored a half-century, helping India put up 344 runs on the board at the end of the first day at Colombo.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane put together a 211-run partnership for the fourth wicket to help the Men in Blue reach 344/3 at the end of the first day’s game at Colombo. Pujara marked his 50th Test with an unbeaten 128 while Rahane, too, scored a century, his ninth in Tests. On the other hand, KL Rahul marked his return to the Test side with his sixth consecutive half-century. Rahul credited Indian skipper Kohli for his support during his recovery phase.
"It makes a massive difference. It gives me so much confidence, not just now but even after the surgery the support staff, the coaches, the boys were constantly messaging me and saying whenever you are ready, get ready sooner, the team misses you and small things like that make a lot of difference," Rahul told PTI.
"That kept me motivated, that woke me up each morning to go to physiotherapy and do my boring rehab. It gives you confidence that team is backing you, team trusts you, waiting for you to come back into the team and that makes a big difference and I come back with lot more confidence."
"I can walk into the team with ease in my head, there is no pressure on me losing my position which is great and the captain and coaches have always given me that support which has played a big role in my small career so far," the opener said further.
25-year-old Rahul started his Test career against Australia in Melbourne in 2014. Despite injuries, in 17 Test matches, the Karnataka batsman scored 1200 runs with an average of over 44. Rahul expressed his disappointment as he can’t do anything with the injuries and because of that, he missed many games.
"I think this is a lot more difficult because, in physical injuries, you want to do a lot of things."
"We as sportsmen, we're not used to just sitting at home and being at home all day. We want to go out, we want to play sport, we want to be in the gym, want to train, we want to hit balls, and when you're not physically able to do that, it's really tough. It starts playing on the mind a lot more.''
"I have kind of gotten used to this. More than playing for a long time, I have been in and out of the team because of injuries. It’s never easy to come back."
"It takes you a couple of games to get back into your groove as an opening batsman, understand where your off-stump is, to understand what pace you have to play at, how many shots are too many shots, how slow is too much slow - there are a lot of things, a lot of doubts in your mind if you keep going out and coming back in. But I have enjoyed the challenge," said Rahul.
"People might say there is a certain part where I can control my body and I can take care of my body but sometimes it just happens. No matter how well I have taken care of my body, I have been injured a few times which is very unfortunate and which is very disappointing. But each time I have come back, I have come back stronger and I have come back hungrier."
He played a crucial role against Australia in February-March but again underwent surgery on his left shoulder, missing the IPL, the Champions Trophy and the tour of the Caribbean. Having missed the first game due to illness, the 25-year-old scored his sixth consecutive half-century in Test cricket which now makes him stand alongside legendary batsmen like Gundappa Viswanath and Rahul Dravid. But he
"I wasn't upset with him. Run outs happen, it could have happened with anybody. It could have been him who got run out and it could have been my mistake. I wasn't disappointed about that. I was disappointed because I have been away from the game so long and I didn't want to get out at all."
"I wanted to be in the middle, play as many balls as I could, as many days as I could if I could bat. I was disappointed about that. I was looking good and just after lunch, a crucial time as a batsman, you can capitalise and get a lot of runs during that session."
"So I was disappointed that I got out at that time, he said."
"I've never chased numbers, firstly. My job as an opening batsman is to give the team a good start, lay a solid foundation and I think I've done that so far."
"Disappointing that I have not been able to convert that, but I think that will keep me hungrier. Each time I go back to bat, I will want to get more and more runs. I am not cautious about numbers right now, but maybe if this keeps going it might start playing on my mind."
"But nothing changes, you feel a lot more confident, you're seeing the ball a lot better, so you want to maybe play a little bit more positively. All the answers to the questions I will only find when I'm in the middle and when I get a hundred. That's when I'll know what the right process is and how I need to go about my innings," he said.
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