K. L. Rahul: I have to work harder on my wicket-keeping

Rahul's wicket-keeping has been vital to the balance of the RCB side. On India's tour of Sri Lanka, he stepped in for an injured Wriddhiman Saha midway through the second Test, even taking a great catch to dismiss Angelo Mathews.

In his three previous seasons of IPL cricket, K. L. Rahul had never aggregated more than 166 runs over a full campaign. This year, he has four half-centuries to his name, and is Royal Challengers Bangalore's third-highest scorer with a tally of 386 runs.   -  PTI

In his three previous seasons of IPL cricket, K. L. Rahul had never scored more than 45 in an innings or aggregated more than 166 runs over a full campaign. This year, he has four half-centuries to his name, and is Royal Challengers Bangalore's third-highest scorer with a tally of 386 runs. And Rahul will go into Sunday's final here having struck more sixes (16) this season than Chris Gayle (13). If there existed a perception that he was unsuited to limited-overs cricket, the 24-year-old has shattered it.

“You should tell me [if the perception of my batting has changed],” he laughed, speaking here on Friday. “For me there was never a doubt about the skill. But obviously, I hadn't put in the same kind of performances in the previous years. I got the opportunity this year; I was prepared and ready.”

What had he done differently this time, Rahul was asked. “I played less (because of an elbow injury), that's all,” he said. “During my time off, I could sit back and watch a few videos to see what I'd been doing wrong. Mostly, it's been a mental change. I've played with a lot of freedom. I've stuck to my game and realised what works best for me and that is to play cricket shots. Maybe that has been the biggest secret this season.”

While his batting, at various positions in the order, has been fine, Rahul's wicket-keeping has been vital to the balance of the RCB side. On India's tour of Sri Lanka, he stepped in for an injured Wriddhiman Saha midway through the second Test, even taking a great catch to dismiss Angelo Mathews. “I haven't really thought about (keeping long-term),” Rahul said.

“I started my cricket as a wicket-keeper, in the junior format. I then took a break for a few years. I've always enjoyed wicket-keeping and whenever the team has wanted me to keep or somebody has got injured, I've done it. It opens up a different dimension for me. It gives the team the option of playing an extra batsman or bowler. I'll obviously have to work a lot harder on my wicket-keeping.”