The Indian cricket team's sudden decision to recall Lokesh Rahul to the team ahead of the second Test against England in Vizag came as a pleasant surprise to the fans across the nation.
The right-hand batsman, who was playing for Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match against Rajasthan, was called in to solve the opening woes of the team. Rahul, who last played in the New Zealand Test series, said on his return that it was heartbreaking to have missed out on that series mid-way.
During an exclusive interview with BCCI.TV on Wednesday, he said, "To start off, it was really heartbreaking to miss out on a home series after a long time." Rahul managed to play only in the first Test against the Kiwis after which a hamstring injury ruled him out of the remainder of the series.
"I played a lot of series outside of India and I was in good form. I wanted to make it big in the home series and it was heartbreaking to get injured and go back to Bengaluru," he added.
Following the injury that he aggravated during the Test series, Rahul was advised to sit out of the game for nearly six weeks. The right-hand batsman mentioned that although it was tough being sidelined for nearly a month, he used the opportunity to get fitter and stronger. He said, "I used that time to get fitter and stronger. I worked on my fitness and on my batting because I had all the time in the world."
"The rehab process was nothing too exciting. It was very boring to be sitting at home. My mind and my heart was always with the Indian team, watching the games day in and day out. To be sitting at home for six weeks is difficult. The first couple of weeks or more, there is not a lot that you can do. You can only wake up and go visit the physiotherapist and spend some time at the rehab centre. You have nothing else to do for the rest of the day," he added.
Eager to play against the best
Rahul went on to state that his eagerness to return to the Indian team and to play against teams like England and Australia motivated him to work harder on his fitness. “The eagerness to come back to the Indian team and play against teams like England and Australia ahead motivated me to work harder and get back to full fitness as soon as possible," he said.
He also mentioned that not being part of the Indian team at Indore, where they became the number one Test side, was another heartbreaking moment for him, "We became the number one Test side in the world and I have been a part of this team for the last couple of years and we have all worked really hard to achieve that. Not being a part of that Test team in Indore where we became the number one Test side was heartbreaking again.”
“But those were little things that woke me up every day in the morning. I had to work really hard mentally and physically to convince myself that the recovery process will take time but slowly and surely I will be back on the field. And, here I am back in the Indian team," he concluded.
Rahul is heavily backed to make the cut into the playing eleven ahead of Gautam Gambhir for the second Test against England at Vizag.