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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

ICC World Cup 2019: Opening or No. 4? KL Rahul gives interesting answer after ton against Bangladesh

KL Rahul more or settled India’s No.4 debate but an opener by nature what his Rahul’s preferred batting position? Here’s what the right-hander answered after his century in the warm-up game against Bangladesh.

cricket Updated: May 29, 2019 13:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India's K.L. Rahul celebrates reaching his century during the 2019 Cricket World Cup warm up match between Bangladesh v India at Sophia Gardens stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on May 28, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
India's K.L. Rahul celebrates reaching his century during the 2019 Cricket World Cup warm up match between Bangladesh v India at Sophia Gardens stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on May 28, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)(AFP)

Indicating that India’s No. 4 debate has been settled, captain Virat Kohli stated that KL Rahul’s century was the biggest positive of India’s second and final warm-up game against Bangladesh at Cardiff on Tuesday, which India won by a handsome margin of 95 runs. But when asked about his preference, Rahul was not ready give too much away.

Rahul, an opener by nature, is all set to bat at No 4 in India’s opening match of ICC World Cup 2019 against South Africa. The Karnataka batsman said he has been ready for quite some time as the current team expects all the players to be ready for any role assigned to them.

“Every batsman, who has played at this level knows how to handle pressure and responsibility given to him. It’s a team game where everybody is prepared for the last couple of years so that any role can be given, come a big game. So all of us have prepared in that way and nothing that is given to any individual will come off as a surprise,” he said when asked about the pressure of playing at a new slot.

WATCH: MS Dhoni sets field for Bangladesh, twitter erupts

Rahul scored a superb 108 off 99 balls, forging a 164-run stand with MS Dhoni, who scored 113 off 78 balls to lead India to 359 for 7, after being sent in to bat.

Reflecting back on the tough phase, Rahul said time away from the game actually helped him become a better a cricketer.  

“The time off from game does give a player opportunity to reflect on himself and it wasn’t any different for me,” Rahul told reporters referring to the time he was provisionally suspended by the BCCI for his loose talk on a TV show.

“I spend some time with friends and family. It was important as I have been on the road for a long time. Given the situation, that’s not how I would have liked to get some time off but anyway I tried to make the best use of it,” said the stylish batsman, whose 108 off 99 balls has virtually ended the debate on No 4 slot.

WATCH: Virat Kohli’s animated celebration after Dhoni gets to his century

He doesn’t want to dwell on the past and the focus is now back on the game.

“What’s gone is gone and the focus is always on cricket. I am really happy with how I have managed to bounce back. IPL gave me a lot of confidence and really happy that I could carry that confidence here today (Tuesday),” Rahul said.

He has said it a number of times and again acknowledged the role played by India A coach Rahul Dravid in his comeback.

“There were a few things about my batting and my technique that I needed to fix. I worked with my coach back home in Bengaluru and India A games gave me a bit of opportunity.

“Like speaking to Rahul Dravid about mental preparation and how to handle low confidence and poor form. The best way to get back to scoring runs is to find that form in the middle and I got that opportunity. From there, it just carried on. I was very hungry to come back and score runs for whatever team I played,” he spoke on his comeback.

Asked about the Sophia Gardens track, the batsman said that it was a “beauty” and he would love to come back here.

“I got a hundred so I would love to come back here. There was a bit of movement, in the first 20 or 30 overs. There was a little bit for fast bowlers. Wicket played beautifully. It was good to be out there in the middle and get used to the format and spend some time.”

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: May 29, 2019 13:32 IST

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