Two-year hiatus made me stronger, says Rahul

Having spent two years waiting since making his debut two years ago, KL Rahul appears to be in a hurry to make up for lost time.

After producing a well-constructed half-century against Delhi in the previous match in Bangalore, the opener stroked his way to a brilliant unbeaten 145. That along with CM Gautam’s undefeated 129 put Karnataka on top against Vidarbha in their Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy clash here on Saturday.

“It’s a proud feeling, I really can’t explain it,” said a visibly delighted Rahul after the day’s play. “Words can’t explain the way I feel right now. I had to work a lot. It’s been two years since I played in the Ranji Trophy. It’s been a long wait and I am really happy it (the century) came today,” remarked the former India under-19 World Cup player.

The two-year hiatus, Rahul pointed out, has made him a tougher character. “The gap really made me stronger. I realised where I stand and came to know what my weaknesses are and how I need to get better to do well at the Ranji Trophy level or the highest level. So I went back and I worked on my technique and I worked on my fitness. I had a few fitness issues. Just talking to a few senior players and guys in the team and watching and learning... I kept learning ever day.”

Maintaining that there was no particularly role assigned to him, the 20-year-old said: “I didn’t really think too much when I went out to bat. I knew I just had to play one ball at a time. My role was really simple: to bat as long as I could, and this being a very important game for the team, I had to put my best foot forward.

“It wasn’t easy but I really enjoyed batting six hours and being on the field. It is the greatest feeling for me to be able to play a whole day and come out unbeaten. I didn’t plan much,” explained Rahul while acknowledging the positive role played by Gautam in constructing the innings.

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