India vs Sri Lanka: KL Rahul enjoys every knock like it’s his last | india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 | Hindustan Times
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India vs Sri Lanka: KL Rahul enjoys every knock like it’s his last

KL Rahul showed his class, stroking a fifty on his comeback after a layoff following a shoulder injury, and spoke about the happiness of just being back in the India set up in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 03, 2017 20:47 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Indian cricketer Lokesh Rahul (L) plays a shot against Sri Lanka on the first day of the second Test at the Sinhalease Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on Thursday.
Indian cricketer Lokesh Rahul (L) plays a shot against Sri Lanka on the first day of the second Test at the Sinhalease Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on Thursday.(AFP)

Spending more than four months out of action can make you desperate; it can also make you determined. The strong resolve in KL Rahul’s batting was there to see on the first morning of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

In great form, Rahul braved a shoulder injury to play crucial knocks in the home Test series win against Australia in March and then underwent surgery. He missed the first Test in Galle, India’s first series since the home matches, due to fever.

READ | India vs Sri Lanka: Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane dominate Day 1 of 2nd Test

While his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan batted without a care in the world, going for his shots from the start, Rahul was resolute and prepared to wait for the right delivery. It helped him complete his sixth successive half-century (57), and seventh in eight innings, till an unfortunate run out.

Team contribution matters

“Not being able to play cricket was tough, but once I am back I am really happy; and even happier I could start off with a fifty and make some contribution to the team,” said Rahul, looking satisfied after making a successful comeback.

“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 more hungry. It’s (injuries) kind of taught me to value my position, value my opportunities each time I go out to the middle. I enjoy it and play it like it is my last game. That’s something that has really worked for me.”

READ | Ajinkya Rahane ends 10-month century drought with calculated ton vs Sri Lanka

For someone who had been out for long, the impressive part about Rahul’s game was how he straightaway found his rhythm, sure of his footwork and shot selection. It pointed to his strong basics. While sharing his frustration at not being able to do anything during the recovery process, Rahul spoke about how it helps analyse other batsmen’s game.

“When you are sitting out and when you are seeing your teammates doing well, you do feel very happy but you also feel disappointed that it’s not you in that position doing the job for the country. Whatever time I have spent away from the game, I have watched the guys batting. Not just our guys but I watch a lot of cricket, I see the guys and see what they are doing right and I try to bring that into my game.”

Happy to be back

Asked how significant his innings was, Rahul said he was very happy the minute he walked into the middle.

READ | Cheteshwar Pujara continues dream run with century vs Sri Lanka in Colombo Test

“It’s a big challenge, very unfortunate I had to sit out for so long. At such a young age how do you keep yourself positive, how do you keep yourself focused, and still motivated to come back as soon as you can… but the minute I walked out to the middle, I was very happy, more than anything else. Whether I did well or didn’t, it didn’t matter because I was very happy.”

The only concern for Rahul will be the inability to convert his fifty into three figures. “Disappointing that I have not been able to convert that, but that will keep me more hungry. Each time I go back to bat, I will want to get more and more runs. I’m learning from my mistakes. Each time I’ve done a silly mistake and that’s how it is.”

On the reaction to his run out -- Rahul gestured to partner Cheteshwar Pujara that ‘it was my call’ -- he said, “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.”