Why KL Rahul wore Mumbai Indians shirt after Kings XI Punjab’s loss
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Why KL Rahul wore Mumbai Indians shirt after Kings XI Punjab’s loss

KL Rahul swapped his Kings XI Punjab jersey with Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya after Wednesday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match. The former said he wants cricket to follow football in engaging in the jersey swapping tradition

cricket Updated: May 17, 2018 14:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2018,KL Rahul,Mumbai Indians
Kings XI Punjab’s KL Rahul and Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya swap jerseys after their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match.(IPL)

KL Rahul’s sensational 94-run knock against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday night wasn’t enough for the Kings XI Punjab to cement their position in the race for a top-four spot. Rahul though, did end up leaving the field with the orange cap and also walked away with Hardik Pandya’s jersey.

Pandya, who operates alongside Rahul in the Indian cricket team, could be seen consoling Rahul after the loss. The two also ended up swapping jerseys, which of course is a common football tradition practised across the world.

READ | IPL 2018: Mumbai Indians beat Kings XI Punjab to stay alive in playoffs race

Rahul, who was dismissed by Wednesday’s man of the match, Jasprit Bumrah in the 19th over, says that he would like to see the jersey exchange custom become a regular feature of the gentleman’s game.

“Look we have seen this happening a lot in football. And obviously Hardik and I are good friends so I felt like it would be nice to collect some jerseys and bring that tradition into cricket as well,” the right-handed opener told IPL’s official website after the game.

“We hadn’t spoken about this earlier and as we were talking now I said ‘give me your jersey’ and he wanted my jersey as well and so we exchanged jerseys. It was a nice thing to do,” he added.

READ | Mumbai Indians’ comeback in IPL 2018 feels like fairytale: Jasprit Bumrah

Opening up about competing against his compatriots in the domestic league Rahul said: “The beauty of the IPL is that we play really hard and aggressive; we all want to win the game despite the fact that we play 300 days of cricket together (with the national team). But these two months when we play IPL, there is no friendship when we step onto the field.”

“He (Hardik) wants to take my wicket and that is how the IPL is. It is not just between me and him but all the eight teams that compete hard against each other and that is what makes the tournament the biggest in the world.”

Rahul also feels that opening for an IPL team is an added responsibility and how failures or shortcomings through the tournament are helping him evolve as a player.

READ | Jasprit Bumrah enhances death-overs reputation to keep MI alive in IPL 2018

“In the first half I was still looking good and I was hitting the ball to get up to 50-60 and then I’d find myself sitting in the dugout and seeing my team struggle sometimes. As a middle order batsman it never easy to come in and just keep going and so, as an opener I wanted to take that extra responsibility and I knew that if I bat more often than not, we will end up on the winning side,” said the 26-year-old wicketkeeper.

“We did end up getting a big target but unfortunately the last two innings haven’t gone my way or the team’s way. But everything is learning and I am learning from these games. So if there is ever a situation like this that arises while playing for the country or the any other tournament, I will have better answers.”

First Published: May 17, 2018 14:00 IST