'He suddenly became beast in six months', Virat Kohli recalls KL Rahul’s 'great transformation' at RCB
Virat Kohli recalls KL Rahul’s 'great transformation' at RCB|
Virat Kohli has recalled that KL Rahul had first caught his attention in 2014, during India's tour of Australia and he was amazed with his confidence and body language. Kohli then said Rahul had one of the best transformation stories of IPL he has come across, during an impressive 2016 edition.
Former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli recalled one of the best transformation stories of Indian Premier League (IPL) he has come across, revealing the story of his former RCB teammate KL Rahul and how he transformed himself into a "beast" in only six months' time during an impressive 2016 season.
Rahul had joined RCB in 2013 before being picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for INR 1 crore for the next two editions. However, he returned to RCB in 2016 and finished the season as the third highest run-scorer among his teammates, with 397 runs in 14 matches.
When asked about the two best transformation stories he has come across in the IPL on ‘The RCB Podcast’, Kohli chose Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal before he continued on with the former, recalling his early days in the tournament.
“The only two people who come to mind for me are KL (Rahul) and Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal). KL Rahul was at RCB in 2013 along with Karun and Mayank. KL Rahul was never a guy who was looked at as a T20 specialist. He was part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015 and Avinash Vaidya was our manager before. He approached me because he was in touch with KL Rahul, and he was not getting any game time. And I had seen him play for India,” said Kohli.
However, Kohli admitted that he was never really close with Rahul after the latter left RCB in 2018, but he kept track of his performance in the domestic circuit.
“I hadn’t seen much of KL since he left RCB, and I had heard he is doing well in first-class cricket. He was very young when he was at RCB, and I was already playing for India and we were regularly playing for RCB. So, we never really connected in a very detailed manner," Kohli added.
Further, Kohli revealed that Rahul first caught his attention in 2014, during India's tour of Australia, and he was amazed with his confidence and body language.
“We wouldn’t spend so much time with each other. I had seen him play in Australia in 2014 when he made his Test debut and I felt like, ‘Wow! He’s seriously worked some wonder on his game. He’s come back as an amazing player, and he started off so strongly in Australia.’ I was very impressed with his body language, his confidence, and his demeanor.
“He (Rahul) was playing for the Sunrisers and wasn’t getting many opportunities and the opportunities that he got, I felt like he was playing under pressure, you could see he was trying to prove a point, trying to prove himself in the IPL. When the opportunity came through, I thought, this guy has got unbelievable talent and maybe playing for Bangalore and RCB would ease things off for him because there, he’s playing in front of his home crowd and there’s AB, Chris, and myself here and if KL can play a role, maybe he can grow in confidence,” he continued.
Kohli then referred to the IPL 2016 edition, the year RCB had reached the IPL final for the third time. Rahul, with the help of four fifties, had averaged 44.11 in that season with a strike rate of 146.49.
“He doesn’t need to be the focal point or that youngster who has to prove himself. It’s all about being a part of this great team and showing what he can do. And the way he batted that season, for me, that was a great transformation of seeing a player who was just there and there about to suddenly become this beast in six months’ time. From there on he’s carried through,” Kohli concluded.
Rahul will play the upcoming IPL 2022 as the captain of Lucknow Super Giants, while Kohli will continue playing for RCB for the 15th season.