KL Rahul says international comeback after injury layoff is ‘very difficult’

The stylish batter had no qualms in admitting the previous year was a mixed bag and attributed it primarily to his injury breaks.

Rohit Sharma congratulates KL Rahul at the end of the second ODI between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.

Rohit Sharma congratulates KL Rahul at the end of the second ODI between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. | Photo Credit: AFP

The stylish batter had no qualms in admitting the previous year was a mixed bag and attributed it primarily to his injury breaks.

He started 2022 as India’s Test captain in South Africa. But by year-end, thanks to multiple injuries and patchy form with the willow across formats, K.L. Rahul lost his vice-captaincy and was in danger of losing his place in the T20 and Test squads.

The stylish batter had no qualms in admitting the previous year was a mixed bag and attributed it primarily to his injury breaks.

“It was a bit of a mixed year for me. It started with an injury. I then played the IPL, got injured again, and was out of the game for some time. I have had a few injuries in my short career. I have realised it’s very difficult to come back from an injury straight into international cricket,” Rahul said after being adjudged the player of the match for his match-winning unbeaten 64 against Sri Lanka in the second ODI at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. India has taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series.

“When you come back, you are not the same player, the same person. Your body doesn’t react the same way to a situation. When you come out and straightaway play international cricket, the expectations are high. One or two bad performances, and you hear all sorts of things from the outside world. That can be tough. That’s part of our job. I have understood it’s always going to be challenging.”

Rahul has been assigned different roles in ODIs over the last three years. With an eye on the 2023 ODI World Cup at home, Rahul’s a front-runner for a wicketkeeper-cum-middle order batter’s role. Having revelled in the same role for most of the last three years, Rahul hoped he could sustain his form from the first two games for the rest of the year. “I am happy the first two games of the year have gone really well, and I hope I can build on it. I’ll try harder and harder to keep winning matches in the roles that are assigned to me,” he said.

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