The serenity in K.L. Rahul’s deep baritone voice reflects his state of mind.
The classy opener’s 123 in the first innings of the first Test here had a huge impact in how the contest progressed and eventually ended in an Indian win.
Right up there
Asked how he would rate this hundred, Rahul said, “Right up there in terms of the conditions, the wicket and how challenging the bowling was. I was happy that I could get a hundred and put my team in a winning position.”
He conceded it was a crucial toss to win for India. “Particularly after how the pitch behaved on days three and four when the cracks opened up,” he said.
Asked about 2021 in the context of Test cricket for India, Rahul said, “It will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket, particularly Test cricket.”
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He added, “We are a happy dressing room. Put in a lot of effort in the two weeks leading to the Test. We shared our experiences from the past tours. It was all about training, mindset, preparation and grit.”
About him ‘leaving’ so many deliveries outside off, he said, “The key to Test-match batting is leaving balls outside off. I am enjoying it, enjoying tiring the bowlers. Need to do the same thing at the Wanderers.”
Talking about the Indian pace attack, he said, “Bumrah, Shami and Siraj bowled with a lot of heart, hit the deck, there was something in there for them in the pitch that got them excited. Let me tell you, facing them in the nets is not easy for us.”
The Dravid effect
About the impact of coach Rahul Dravid on the team, Rahul said, “When such a legend comes to your dressing room as coach, you talk to him about the art of batting, learn from his experiences. He has brought calm and focus to the dressing room. Made us work hard at the nets.”
Predictably, Rahul was the man of the moment and Man-of-the-Match.