KL Rahul on opening challenge: Need to be ready to do anything for the team

KL Rahul, who returned to the Test fold for the first time since August 2019, helped India bounce back on day three of the first Test against England in Nottingham.

KL Rahul's sturdy 84 off 214 deliveries helped India set up a 90-run lead after its first innings on Friday at Trent Bridge.   -  Action Images via Reuters

KL Rahul relished the opportunity of opening the innings once again for India after featuring in the middle-order during its warm-up fixture last month.

Rahul, who returned to the Test fold for the first time since August 2019, helped India bounce back on day three of the first Test against England in Nottingham. His well-crafted 84 off 214 deliveries helped India move past England's first innings total of 183 before able contributions from the lower-order - Ravindra Jadeja's 56 and Jasprit Bumrah's 28 - helped the visitor post a 70-run lead at stumps on Friday.

When quizzed about his return as an opener, Rahul said: "If there's something that I've learnt in the last two years is that, you need to be ready to do anything. I've been asked to do different roles a lot of times and I quite enjoy doing it. This was another opportunity for me to challenge myself."

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Rahul said that the opener's slot was not a peculiar challenge, having opened the innings for a great deal of his Test career. "In the Tests I've played so far, I've opened the batting all my life (Rahul has played six innings in the middle-order for India), so it wasn't new to me," the 29-year-old said.

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Rahul who last hit a Test century (149 at The Oval) for India in England during its 2018 tour, admitted that a change in mindset has helped him reinvent his red-ball career. "I used to have a lot of thoughts in my mind and I used to feel like I could play two or three different shots for every ball even in red-ball cricket.  I realised that I should learn to control it sometimes when the going gets tough or challenging wickets - you need to hold back some of your shots."

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Rahul also added that he enjoyed the challenge of facing England's veteran pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad on a fine batting track. "It was a good wicket. It wasn't unplayable or anything but having to face Anderson or Broad in these conditions is no batsman's dream. But I loved the challenge of being out in the middle. I worked on a few things that I learnt from my last tour here four years ago and it was enjoyable to play against these world-class bowlers," he said.

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With England on the back foot at the close of play on day three, Rahul said the team is aiming for a good start with the ball on day four while utilising its 70-run lead as a cushion to reduce England's second innings total before aiming for a win.

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