India vs Zimbabwe 2016: KL Rahul on the thoughts going through his head at 94
Debutant Indian batsman KL Rahul made history by becoming the only Indian player to score a century on ODI debut against Zimbabwe yesterday. The talented right-hander also became the 11th cricketer to achieve the unique feat as he scored an unbeaten 100 to guide India to a comfortable victory.
He was batting at 94 when India needed only 2 runs to win and the debutant struck a magnificent six over the long-on fence off Hamilton Masakadza’s bowling to complete a well-deserved hundred. Timing his hundred to perfection, Rahul revealed what was going through his mind when he was batting at 94.
The 24-year-old quipped, “There’s not much that went through. I didn’t want to be on 94 for a long of time and let a lot of thoughts come in my mind. I picked my spot, if the bowler bowled there I was going no matter what. Yea, luckily for me the bowler bowled there and I connected and I held my shape so it all went well for me.
When asked about how he constructed his knock, Rahul divulged, ”Yes, of course, my initial plan was to see the new ball off. I mean we knew the wicket was doing a little bit, it was on the spongy side so I knew I had to play close to the body and wait for the balls that were short so I could capitalize. I had a set plan and once I played the first 10 overs and I hit a few balls in the middle of the bat, I knew I was looking good and I’ve just come from a good IPL and you know I carried the same momentum and same confidence into this game.”
Rahul,who earlier shone in the longest format of the game for India, was drafted into the limited overs squad based on his recent performances in the IPL 2016 where he amassed 397 runs at an average of 44.11. Maintaining a healthy strike rate of 146.49, Rahul showed that he had all the shots in his armor to succeed in the shorter formats.
About his knock, the right-hander also added, “ I was watching the ball well so I just kept it simple. I knew I had to, you know the target was not so big so I just kept it simple and knocked the ball around, ran my runs hard and when the opportunity was there to hit boundaries I hit boundaries so I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed my innings and definitely a great relief for me to get an ODI hundred firstly but also to get in your first ODI match and it’s something very special for me.”
Rahul didn’t do that well on his Test debut against Australia in Melbourne last year when he registered scores of 3 and 1. However, opening the batting in his next Test match in Sydney, he came back strong as he scored a brilliant 110 against a potent Australian bowling line-up.
Did memories of his debut Test haunt him when he made his ODI debut? Answering the question, Rahul added, “No it didn’t play on my mind. Of course, I learned a lot from my debut in Australia. It was a great learning from me. I said that before in Australia as well, it’s a great learning. I wouldn’t have been such a confident player or a player I am today if I hadn’t gotten that kind of failure in my first Test so it’s a great learning and I am very happy that I learned a lesson from my Test debut.”
The young man has surely started his limited-overs career with a bang.