Lucknow: “I am trying to forget; you are reminding me again and again,” KL Rahul said with a half smile as a journalist reminded him about the thigh injury he sustained during an IPL match here at the Ekana Stadium and spent months recuperating from it. Rahul can smile about it now as things have fallen back into place but it wouldn’t have been easy as he had to endure surgery, rehabilitation and training at the National Cricket Academy.
“Yes, I am a little sad about that (missing half the IPL), but the injury that I had, it kept me out of the game for 4-5 months. That was a tough time. Whoever has an injury, if you ask anyone – they undergo surgery — and to come back, it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and you have to go through that which is not very easy.
“In cricket, whatever ups and downs happen, sometimes you score 100, sometimes you don’t, that success or failure you can handle but this painful time that is there, doing physio and coming back into cricket. That was tough. I can’t say that it (injury) is not in my mind. Yesterday when I came to the ground, my last memory of this ground is that – falling down and injuring myself. Hopefully I can put that aside and I can make some better and happier memories to forget all of that.”
It’s one thing recovering from injury, doing all that you need to in order to get back into shape because it’s in your control. But how do you deal with criticism, which can be unfair at times?
“I have put in a lot of effort in this,” Rahul began about themental aspect of his game. “I tried to address it. Outside noise for a long time, I thought it won’t affect me, but in the last year or so it started affecting me. And then I realised that I will have to work on it. And when I got time, outside of the game, I tried to work on that side – mentally you got to get a lot more stronger, a lot more thick-skinned. So yeah, that really helped me being away from the game.
“Being away from social media was one part of it and thenthere are specialist mental coaches that you can really use and work on if you feel that it will help. So, I tried a bit of everything.”
India may have won all five matches but all of them have come batting second following the bowlers’ brilliant job. If opportunity presents, Rahul felt, India wouldn’t mind testing themselves while batting first.
“A little bit. I mean, not really gone too much into it,” said Rahul on setting a target. “I think one game we did lose a toss and ended up bowling first as well. So, toss is not something that the captain or the team can control. So whatever opportunities we’ve gotten we’ve done well but again it will be great, it will be a good opportunity if we get to bat first before the next stage and in the next four games if we can get to bat first it’ll be a good challenge for us to just see how to pace the innings and it’s been some time since we’ve batted first. So, it will be useful for the team.”
(Published 28 October 2023, 15:03 IST)