Inconsistent form and troubles off-the-field left KL Rahul in a tricky spot at the beginning of the year. However, the batsman made a solid comeback in the IPL, scoring 593 runs at a brilliant average of 53.9, which included an unbeaten hundred and six half-centuries – all this, while he was selected in the World Cup squad and the debate over the ‘number 4’ spot was at its peak.
The stylish Indian batsman talked to India TV ahead of the team’s preparations for the World Cup in England and Wales, where he talked about his form and the expectations from the showpiece event. [Read the interview in Hindi here]
“I'm in the best mind space possible at the moment,” Rahul told India TV. “The events that transpired last year were important to get on track and understand that playing for India is the best thing possible. It is a dream and I want to make the most of every chance I get. One has to learn from it and deliver.”
The batsman’s performances in the last two seasons of the IPL have successfully changed the notion of him being a ‘test cricketer’, and Rahul aims to capitalize on his form as he travels with the team for the World Cup.
“I'm happy to break the shackle of not being called a Test cricketer and show the world that I can play any format of the game, be it world cricket or IPL, people generally don't know the amount of work I've put in to be flexible in all formats.
“As a player, I want to keep the form going throughout the year. Ups and downs happen in a cricketer's career. If you don't play well, people judge you by saying that you're not fit to play international cricket but as a player, you know you have to go through it. Failure is important for a player to learn. As a player to try our best to be consistent.”
“Everyone wants to stand out at Lord's and have their name on the board and hope to fulfil that dream but it's important to help the team win the match. If an individual has an opportunity to reach a 100 or take five wickets, the team will push forward for that but it's imperative for the team to win.
“Mahi bhai's experience, calm and coolness and Virat's aggression – it’s the best combination to have. You feel lucky to play under such good leaders and the best players to have played for our country.”
Rahul also spoke in length about the highly-anticipated clash against Pakistan at the World Cup. While the batsman acknowledged that it would be exciting to face Pakistan, he insisted that all the teams are highly competitive.
“It's not going to be any different game, on the cricket field when the two teams clash, the game becomes exciting and more enjoyable. The motivation comes in itself.
“Every team is good on paper. It will be a great contest and I think this will be one of greatest World Cups,” Rahul said.
(As told to IndiaTV Sports Correspondent Vaibhav Bhola)