K. L. Rahul: ‘I couldn’t help but doubt my own character’

K. L. Rahul, the India opener, reveals he was not ready to face people in the first few days after the Koffee with Karan controversy.

K. L. Rahul: “The hardest thing was to know whether you are actually a bad person.”   -  AFP

K. L. Rahul cut himself off socially in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding his comments — alongside his India team-mate Hardik Pandya’s — in Koffee With Karan, a celebrity chat show on television.

Provisionally suspended by the BCCI for their indiscreet comments, Rahul opened up about what he endured after being sent back before the One-Day International (ODI) series played in Australia in January, 2019. “It was hard as I am not used to people disliking me. For the first one week or 10 days, I couldn’t help but doubt myself, doubt my own character. The hardest thing was to know whether actually you are a bad person, when so much has been written about you,” Rahul told India Today.

Rahul revealed he was scared to face uncomfortable questions from outsiders.

‘Scared to step out’

“I was quite honestly scared to step out as I wasn’t ready. If somebody would ask questions, I didn’t know what I would answer. I would go for practice, come back home and be on my Playstation (video game) as I wasn’t simply ready to face people,” Rahul said.

Read | K. L. Rahul, Hardik Pandya case: CoA set to refer matter to Ombudsman

Rahul admitted he had been distracted away from family and friends after having started playing for India. “When you start playing for the country, you are so distracted, you are always on the move, forget who your true friends are or how important family is. I have been on the road for a long time and I haven’t had a break. So, you kind of have a disconnect with family or friends. You kind of drift away, don’t make time for friends,” he said.

Read | Shastri: Pandya, Rahul needed a rap on their knuckles

He added: “You share a lot with [the people around you] but you forget that there are people back home who have seen your struggles, seen you when you were nothing. They have helped you because they liked the real you. You rediscover your relationships with a lot of people.”

Support and advice

Rahul was thankful to those Indian team members and the support staff who supported him during his trying times.

Hardik Pandya (left) and K. L. Rahul at the Koffee with Karan chat show. Photo: Twitter   -  Twitter

 

“Even when I had to leave Australia and go back home, there were a lot of people who came up to me and put an arm around the shoulder and said, ‘It’s okay, we have all been there and we have all made mistakes, and we have all had to face punishments in whatever way’,” Rahul said.

He revealed he had been given an advice by the senior members of the Indian team. It was to “try to keep aside the hatred that you are receiving from social media and [not to] doubt yourself.”

“So much has been said by people, that you start questioning yourself. But then family, friends, team-mates, checked up on me as to what I was going through,” he said.