"Batting means everything to him," says KL Rahul's childhood coach
What's the story?
In-form batsman Lokesh Rahul's childhood coach, Jairaj Muthu, has revealed the batsman's love for the game and the reasons behind his stunning returns in recent time. Speaking to Times of India, he talked about how time off from international cricket due to injury layoffs has only made Rahul go from strength to strength as a cricketer.
"Rahul loves to bat. There isn't anything which is closer to his heart than his batting. He doesn't spend anything less than six hours per day in the nets. Plus, whenever he is at home, his father gives him throwdowns. He is very committed. Batting means everything to him," Jairaj told TOI after Rahul scored an effortless century to spare England no chance in their defence of 159 in the first T20I.
The heart of the matter
"International cricket is all about how you handle pressure and Rahul did a lot of mental preparation while recovering from his injuries. Injuries gave him time to think," the coach said.
"Even when he is sleeping, if someone wakes him up at midnight and tells him to bat, he will," says Muthu. "Even when he is informed in the nets about his last six deliveries, he will make it 10 and again ask for another round of bowling. He is very hungry".
In case you didn't know...
KL Rahul has been in fantastic touch with the bat of late, coming on the back of a run-fest in the IPL where he scored a personal best of 659 runs at a strike rate of 158.41, including the fastest fifty in IPL history. He has now followed that up with strong showings in India's tour of United Kingdom and has even registered his second T20I century, becoming only the second Indian alongside Rohit Sharma to have achieved that feat.
Given the strong batting line-up India has had so far under Virat Kohli's captaincy, Rahul has never gotten a long run in any format except for when filling-in for an injured opener. While he has made most of his opportunities in Tests, especially with his standout performances in the home series against Australia last year, where he notably battled out a prowling Nathan Lyon to get 90 in India's total of 189.
He now looks to consolidate a position in the ODI line-up where he is likely to bat at number 4, a position he has been unsuccessfully tried at before. But given the successes Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have had in the format, Rahul will have to make the most of the chances he might get at number 4 only, instead of his preferred batting position up against the new ball.