Rahul: I’ve returned from injury stronger every time

The opener elaborated on the challenge of coping with injuries in his nascent Test career.

K. L. Rahul plays a flamboyant stroke on his return to Test cricket on Thursday in Colombo.   -  AP

Ever since K.L. Rahul’s debut at Melbourne in 2014, India played 27 Tests, including the one at Galle, but the opener has only played 17 in a nascent career glittering with runs but marred by injuries. Having made another solid comeback, Rahul looked set for a bigger score till a run-out stopped him at 57 here in the second Test at the SSC Ground.

Report: India in command after serene hundreds from Pujara, Rahane

Cheerily saying a ‘long-time no-see’ to some cricket writers, Rahul sat down and addressed the media on Thursday. He spoke frankly about the dreary days of recovery and the sheer joy of playing a Test.

Excerpts

A 57 and its import

It’s been a long time I have been away from the game at such a young age. How do you keep yourself positive and motivated to come back as soon as you can? That was the biggest challenge but the minute I walked out into the middle, I was very happy. I am even more happy that I could start with a fifty and make some contribution to the team.

Recovery and return

More than playing for a long time, I have been in and out of the team because of injuries. It’s never easy and it takes you a couple of games to get back into your groove as an opening batsman, understand where your off-stump is, to understand what pace you have to play at. There are doubts. But yeah, I have enjoyed the challenge. Each time I have come back, I have come back stronger.

Six fifties in a row

I have never chased numbers. My job as an opening batsman is to give the team a good start and I have done that. Disappointing that I have not been able to convert the starts but that will keep me more hungry. Each time I bat, I will want to get more and more runs.

The angst over his run-out

I wasn’t upset with him (Cheteshwar Pujara). Run-outs happen. It could have been him who got run out and it could have been my mistake. I wasn’t disappointed about that. I was disappointed because I have been away from the game so long and I didn’t want to get out at all.

The pitch

The pitch was on the slower side and I think it will take turn as the days go. The more the footmarks, the more turn and purchase R. Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja can get.

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