KL Rahul recalls 'surprise' exchange with Virat Kohli during South Africa tour

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KL Rahul recalls 'surprise' exchange with Virat Kohli during South Africa tour

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KL Rahul recalls 'surprise' exchange with Virat Kohli during South Africa tour

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SportsCafe Desk

03/20/2022

KL Rahul recalled the exchange he had with Virat Kohli on the morning of ahead of India’s second Test against South Africa in January, which came as a ‘huge surprise’ to him. Rahul admitted he did not expect Indian captaincy to come so quickly before revealing that the words came to him from Kohli.

KL Rahul on Friday recalled the exchange he had with Virat Kohli during India’s recent South Africa series in January. Rahul, while speaking on Red Bull Cricket Room on Clubhouse, also revealed that the words that came from Kohli left him surprised.

Kohli was leading Team India in the South Africa Test series. They had won the first Test and were aiming to script their first-ever Test series win in South Africa as they headed to Johannesburg. But Kohli had injured his back ahead of the contest and hence Rahul, who was the vice-captain of the team, was given the responsibility to captain the side.

Rahul recalled that he did not expect to lead the country so quickly before revealing that the words first came to him from Kohli himself.

“Like everyone else, it came to me as a huge surprise to me,” began Rahul. 

“I was the vice-captain. As a vice-captain you slowly prepare yourself to become the captain in due time. But then I didn’t expect it to come to me so quickly and in such circumstances: the morning of the game, Virat (Kohli) came to me on the bus and said, ‘My back is not feeling great, you might have to captain the team.’

“It didn’t put me off or my mindset didn’t change a lot. All of us, in some way or the other, when we play the game is our own captain and in our head, we are playing situations like we are a captain. When that ‘C’ in the team list comes, it does feel new and it is something you are proud of. It is an honour not many people get and it is something you always dream of and I was very happy, very grateful.” he added.

Unfortunately under Rahul’s leadership, India had lost the second Test match by seven wickets, leaving the series level at 1-1. But Rahul took the result as a learning experience, and admitted that he rather enjoyed leading the country for the first time.

"It was very challenging. We were 1-0 up, playing South Africa in South Africa. It was a really good game of cricket; there were ups and downs for both teams. South African players really well and held their nerve towards the end to win the game. Wasn’t the most pleasant thing for me to start off with a loss as a captain, but it was great learning and I enjoyed those 4-5 days on the field. We fought till the very end,” he concluded.

Rahul later led India's ODI series as well in South Africa later that month and he remains one of the potential frontrunners for the captaincy once Rohit Sharma leaves the role across formats.

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