KL Rahul has admitted that the niggling injury in his shoulder, which he suffered during the first Test in Pune, wouldn’t affect his batting much apart from restricting him from playing a few shots.
“It gets quite sore. I can’t really dive on the field and there are a few shots that I have to restrict but it is not a bad thing after all. I will play well within myself and if I can’t play two shots doesn’t mean I can’t get runs… I have all the shots in my book,” Rahul said at the post-match ceremony. “That’s what I spoke to the captain and the batting coach about and they were happy to play me restricting me one or two shots. That really kept me going. I know I will have to focus harder with the little problem in my shoulder now. I’m enjoying batting with that problem.”
Rahul scored a gritty 90 in the first innings before following it up with a measured half-century in the second innings to steer his side to safety. The knocks earned him the Man of the Match award. This was in front of his home crowd and it was a special feeling.
“We were down after the first Test and that loss really hit us hard and to come back and play the way we did in this Test match is a really really proud moment for all of us. In the last couple of years, we’ve achieved a lot but this victory for the young Team India will be the best victory ever.”
The only batsman who seemed to be at ease with the pitch that had uneven bounce and posed a threat from Day One, Rahul was at his resolute best in both the innings. Being the local lad, he has history on his side as well, helping Karnataka lift the Ranji Trophy twice in 2014 and 2015.
“I played my cricket in Bangalore and I know what the wicket is going to play like. In fact I told Virat (Kohli) yesterday that if we get 150 runs lead (sic) we’ll win by 30 runs and that’s what exactly happened,” he added. “We spoke in the dressing room that the third day was the best day to bat on this wicket and so we wanted to rotate the strike. We had clear plans and intentions. Ajinkya (Rahane) and (Cheteshwar) Pujara batted really well and I think the approach in the second innings was brilliant from our boys. At the end of day this is what we wanted… to win the Test and keep the series alive.”
Rahul, who now has four centuries and an equal number of half-centuries to his name; however seemed to be a bit irritated on being asked why he failed to convert his starts into big knocks.
“There was a time when they said if I get past 20 I get a hundred. That was a problem and now I get a fifty and not a hundred, that’s also a problem,” he said. “Yesterday I got good starts and I was looking comfortable and I should have capitalised as teams expect an opener to do. I was really disappointed but all that disappointment is gone now after this victory. We’re going to enjoy the victory today and think about Ranchi tomorrow.”