Karnataka youngster not just another brick in the wall

  • Jasvinder Sidhu, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 28, 2014 15:14 IST

So many good things have been happening to Karnataka cricketer Kannaur Lokesh Rahul that the 22-year-old feels the days to don the India colours could just be round the corner.

Some experts have already started drawing comparisons with former batting maestro Rahul Dravid, especially after the namesake emerged as the second-highest run-getter (1033) behind Kedar Jadhav (1223) in the Ranji Trophy last season. But the Bangalore youngster, who sports varied tattoos, says the comparisons are “illogical”.

“I am not that good. There have been comparisons. I just enjoy my game and don’t want to be compared with anyone,” says Rahul, who recently came in for a lot of praise from Dravid.

“Definitely, playing for India is on my mind... hope is always there. I am trying to improve as a cricketer and a human being.”

Rahul, who is the backbone of Karnataka batting, says that as one goes higher “standards improve because competition gets tougher”. “So, I just want to keep improving. Whenever I am called for national duty, I want to make sure that I am ready....”

Those who witnessed Rahul wage a lone battle against the incisive Mumbai bowling attack last season would know that the boy has it in him to chart a trailblazing course.

Karnataka, the reigning Ranji champions, were 84 for 4 in the first innings and were staring at a one-sided contest against Mumbai, but Rahul waged a six-and-a-half hour battle before getting run out on 133. He also scored 131 in the first innings in the Ranji final against Maharashtra.

“My target is to play the entire game. In a 50-over game, the team expects me to play till the last ball. If it is a four-day game, the team expects me to put up a big total,” he says, adding, that when he goes out to bat he is aware of the faith reposed in him by his teammates.

Like every other cricketer, Rahul too has had his share of ups and downs. Within a year of making his debut, Rahul was dropped from the Karnataka side for the 2011-12 season owing to bad form. But that only steeled his resolve.

“I worked on my consistency. Now I am getting a lot of good starts. I want to convert those into big knocks,” he says. And, he owes his success to two of India’s greatest players — Dravid and VVS Laxman. “I am lucky to have had some awesome sessions with Dravid. Besides, VVS Laxman too has had a lot of influence on my batting.

“Not just me, he (Dravid) helps so many cricketers. I had the opportunity to spend some time with VVS at the Hyderabad Sunrisers (IPL team) camp. I spoke to him a lot of about batting. Talking to such legends really opens up your mind,” Rahul said.

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