'Great to be the first guy'

'Great to be the first guy'

'Great to be the first guy'

K L Rahul sat behind the microphone with a contented smile, and brown streaks on his thickening beard, forehead and well-jelled hair. 

“Rahul, is there any beauty treatment going on?” someone quipped. He broke into a pouty smile. “Actually, this is a trend in the team. Anyone who breaks a record or scores a hundred gets a cake,” said Rahul.

He might well have got a basket full of cakes as the Karnataka opener scored 337 and broke a host of records on Friday against Uttar Pradesh, the second day of their Group A Ranji Trophy match.

Karnataka have produced an illustrious line of batsmen – GR Vishwanath, Rahul Dravid, Brijesh Patel, Vijay Bharadwaj, the list is too long to recall all the names. They all had scored heavily in domestic circuit, but that magical 300 eluded them.

It required a 22-year-old from Suratkal to fetch Karnataka their first triple centurion. He was understandably elated. “Obviously feeling very happy.

Great feeling to go down in the history books, especially knowing the kind of history and batsman that Karnataka has produced. To be the first guy to get a 300 from this state feels very very good,” said Rahul.

Apart from a couple of occasions on Thursday where he uncharacteristically looked impatient, Rahul’s 11 hours and 11 mintues vigil at the crease was a treat to watch. He played shots laced with confidence and elegance in equal measure.So, was he in the zone?

Or did the approaching milestones distract him? Rahul pondered a little before responding. “After batting for so long, I was tired and not thinking about records. Runs were coming easily, and I did not have to pressure myself. Everyone was on the boundary so I was getting runs easily. I just had to maintain my concentration,” he said.

Keeping the concentration for such a long period over two days has been a remarkable effort, and Rahul explained it thus: “It is very important to be physically strong to concentrate for long hours. If the team loses wickets at important times, and with the new batsman coming in, I had to build one more partnership. It happened here too. I had a good alliance with Shreyas, then came Gautam and had another stand with Kazi. It helped me to go on. I also didn’t want to be too greedy as we won’t get such batsmen-friendly tracks often. So, took things calmly,” he noted.

Rahul also said his experience of playing Tests in Australia helped. “Getting a 100 in an international match, especially for a youngster, gives immense confidence. I learnt a lot from that tour — I failed in the first game, and then got a good 100 in the second Test. I carried that confidence in this match as well.”