Season has given me self-belief: Rahul

Season has given me self-belief: Rahul

“Rahul look this side.” “Rahul, please pose with the trophy.” “Rahul, please don’t move, we need more photos.” Just about everyone needed a fragment of KL Rahul’s attention, and he offered a rather bemused smile seeing such frenzy around him.

 

But a tally of 1033 runs in a Ranji Trophy winning cause can make you a star, and Rahul understood it during the function organised by KSCA on Monday to felicitate the Karnataka team. Rahul was the man of the show. A contented smile spreads across Rahul’s face when reminded about the overwhelming reception. “It’s a great feeling to get appreciated for your hard work, and who will not be? But all these celebrations at the airport and at the KSCA made me realise: “Oh! I am part of a Ranji Trophy winning side,” he told Deccan Herald.  

However, reaching where he stands now wasn’t an easy task. Let’s hear from Rahul himself about the secret behind his immense success. “Honestly, the 1000 runs wouldn’t have meant anything if we hadn’t won the Ranji Trophy. Of course, getting to the 1000-run mark has been very satisfying because I never thought so at the beginning of the season. This season I kept things very simple. From the beginning of the season I told myself that I am not going to put me under any kind of pressure and just wanted to enjoy my batting. This year, my role in the team was clear as an opener, so that clarity of situation helped me to calm my mind,” said Rahul. 

More than once, Rahul bailed out Karnataka from tough situations and his hundred (133) against Mumbai in a total of 251 evidenced his changed mindset. “I relish the challenges and pressure situations. But that’s what’s expected of you as an opening batsman. There will be a lot of pressure on you because the team everytime will be hoping for you to give a good start so that we can get big runs on the board. We have got the best bowling unit in the country now, so it was up to us batsmen to give them the cushion of runs. I was more than happy to take up that responsibility.” 

It was vastly different scenario at the start of this season. Owner of a doubt-ridden mind after a modest outing in the Duleep Trophy and in the earlier rounds of the Ranji Trophy, Rahul said talks with senior members of the team and coaches helped him settle down. “At the start of this season, I was struggling and couldn’t make too many runs in the Duleep Trophy, and even in the first few games I couldn’t convert those 30s and 40s into something bigger. I realised that those cute little knocks were not going to take me anywhere but I couldn’t do much to alter the situation then. I was disappointed and getting very frustrated.

That’s the time when seniors like Vinay and the coaches (J Arun Kumar and Mansoor Ali Khan) talked to me about the importance of remaining patient. “They kept telling me that I am good enough to get bigger scores and it’s just a matter of one innings. Rahul Dravid too called up and talked about the importance of keeping my mind clear of all these doubts once I enter the field. So, that helped me a lot. Now, I feel I used to complicate things a little bit in the last few seasons and at the beginning of this season. But even now, I would like to improve my conversion rate -- 50s into 100s,” said Rahul.  

Despite the success Rahul is aware that bigger challenges beckons him next season. “This season has given me confidence that I can score runs everywhere irrespective of the conditions. This season has given me self-belief. Now, I know where I am standing, what my strength and weaknesses are. The real challenge will be next season because the bowlers from other teams might now have a lot of videos of my batting and they are going to have plans against me and come hard at me. So there’s challenge for me to be consistent next season.”

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