More relieved than proud to have scored first century: KL Rahul
Young Lokesh Rahul says he is comfortable playing as an opener, and talks about his feelings on having scored his first Test century
Karnataka’s 22-year-old Lokesh Rahul might have announced his arrival on the Test cricket stage in a big way with a well-constructed innings of 110 in the ongoing 4th Test against Australia, but there is an air of modesty about the young man’s reactions when congratulated on his job.
Rahul has been given an opportunity in place of the underperforming Shikhar Dhawan in the inconsequential Sydney Test, and it is an opportunity the youngster has grabbed with both hands. On Day 3, Rahul stitched together a patient stand alongside captain Virat Kohli – accumulating 110 runs from 356 balls before returning a catch to bowler Mitchell Starc.
In his 356-minute stay at the middle, the 22-year-old Karnataka batsman played 213 dot balls.
“I'd say I'm more relieved than proud of myself," Rahul said. "It was a nightmare debut (in Melbourne) and it didn't make my life easier coming here. I just kept telling myself the only way from here is up.
The Melbourne Test was an inauspicous Test debut for Rahul – he managed scores of 3 and 1, and dropped a costly Chris Rogers catch. At Sydney though, he might have already turned the series around as being a famous first tour.
Comfortable playing as an opener: Rahul
Rahul said, “I'm happy with the way I played and hopefully I will continue the same way and keep getting runs.
“Batting up the order gave me a little bit more time for myself and it was a very conscious effort to take my time and get over those early nerves.
“The wicket was pretty slow and the Australian bowlers made it so much more harder by giving nothing away. I just kept telling myself to bat through the first session and come out in the second session and get more runs.
Rahul also credited the Indian team management for providing him support after a failed outing in Melbourne, saying that there was a very good atmosphere in the Indian dressing room.
On the new captain, he said, “After I failed on my debut Test at Melbourne, Virat told me not to stop breathing. He told me to believe in myself. I was quite low but he helped me emerge from it.
“Duncan Fletcher and Ravi Shastri have been very supportive and have been talking to me a lot. After MCG, they told me to spend a bit more time in middle and that everything will seem easier then.
"They consoled me, saying that international debuts can be tough and that I should not feel down, just look up and focus on challenges coming ahead."