Team India batsman KL Rahul described the experience of opening the batting in the first Test in Nottingham against England as another opportunity to challenge himself.
In the lead-up to the Test series, the Indian think-tank had made it clear that KL Rahul would be considered as a middle-order option. However, with Shubman Gill being ruled out of the series and Mayank Agarwal unfit for the first Test, KL Rahul was thrust into the opener’s role in Nottingham. He responded with a fine 84 in the first innings.
At a post-match conference, KL Rahul was asked about how he mentally prepared himself for the challenge of opening the innings after injuries forced India to move him up the order. The 29-year-old asserted that, for him, it was an opportunity to excel at the task given to him. KL Rahul explained:
“In the last two years, I have learnt that you have to be ready to do anything (for the team). I have been asked to play different roles a lot of times and I quite enjoy doing it. So this was another opportunity for me to go out and challenge myself. Obviously, the Test cricket that I have played so far, I have opened the batting. It is something that I have done all my life. So I knew how to go about things and build the innings. When the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to go out there and grab the opportunity.”
KL Rahul top-scored for India in the first innings in Nottingham. His 84 came off 214 balls and featured 12 fours as India posted 278, responding to England’s 183. Impressed by the Karnataka batter’s knock, VVS Laxman opined in a chat with ESPN Cricinfo that this could be the breakthrough innings of KL Rahul’s Test career.
I don’t have to sit and think so much about it: KL Rahul on switching batting positions
Had the designated openers been fit, KL Rahul would have had to bat in the middle-order or might have even had to sit out. Asked if switching batting positions was a challenge for him, he replied in the negative. KL Rahul stated:
“Quite honestly, I don’t have to sit and think so much about it. You are playing for your country and I am a strong believer that in a team sport you have to be ready to do whatever the team asks of you. That’s how I was taught cricket and that’s how I was raised by my coaches. To be an all-format player, you need to be able to perform at whatever different positions the team needs you. I take it as a challenge each time and enjoy it. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t. But it makes you learn a lot about your batting and about yourself.”
After India were bowled out for 278 in their first innings in Nottingham, England reached 25 for no loss in 11.1 overs before rain again forced early stumps on Day 3.