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KL Rahul Prepared for Pressures of Multiple Roles With Indian Team

He said that he will be focusing on one task at a time, living in the moment, and not get distracted.

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Cricket
3 min read
KL Rahul 
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Since late 2019, KL Rahul has been in the form of his life and flourished for India and then in the recently concluded IPL where he captained Kings XI Punjab. Rahul, who kept wickets in the IPL, finished with the Orange cap batting at the top of the order.

Back with the national team and all set to begin the Australia ODI series, the Karnataka man believes he is ready for the added responsibility of being Virat Kohli’s deputy. Rahul said that he is ready for all the responsibility coming his way and would adapt according to the need of the hour.

"I batted at No.5 the last time I played for India and I really enjoyed it. I am willing to bat wherever the team wants me to," Rahul said.

He scored an unbeaten 88 and 112 in two of the three ODIs against New Zealand in an away series in February before the coronavirus pandemic broke out while batting at No. 5.

Rahul explained that taking over the gloves allows India to play an extra bowler or batsman.

"I did get a little bit of a feeler with the IPL. I had to play similar roles there as well. It was challenging, it was new. I think, I got used to that role. Started enjoying it, so I think I will hopefully continue the same here," said Rahul.

Rahul, who made his ODI debut in 2016, has played just 32 ODIs so far. He also made his T20I debut in 2016 but has played just 42 matches in the shortest format over the last four years. This is something he felt did not allow him to settle into any specific role for a consistent period.

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But with MS Dhoni not playing after World Cup 2019, Rahul began to get chances. Between December 2019 and February 2020, he played nine ODIs for India.

"I haven't played 50-over cricket for a long, continued period of time. Though I had been part of the Indian team, I never got a long run like this. It feels good that I am contributing to the team's win and playing my role pretty well and I am happy that I can go out and put up consistent performances," said Rahul, who scored two centuries and three big half-centuries in his last nine ODIs.

He also said that he will be focusing on one task at a time, living in the moment, and not get distracted by other responsibilities.

"Something that I learnt from the IPL is to stay in the moment, in present, to think as a batter when I am batting and to assess the conditions as a batter and how I can win the game for my team. When I am wicketkeeping for those last three or four seconds the bowler is running, it is important that I switch on as a wicketkeeper and not think as a leader. This is what I learnt during this IPL. It is something that is key and important going ahead personally," he added

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The right-hander could be a wicket-keeper-batsman option for India as the team gears up for three ICC events -- two T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 and the ODI World Cup in 2023.

Although Rahul said nothing has been told to him, he willing to take up the challenge.

"Nothing has been told to me, and I am not thinking of that far. Obviously, the World Cups are very, very important. That is the long vision for every team and every country. When it comes to me, we are still taking it one game at a time, if I keep getting consistent performances with the bat and the gloves it obviously gives us the option of playing an extra bowler and an extra batter. Just helps the team combination most. Personally I would love to do. If the opportunity presents itself, I can keep for the three World Cups, I'd love to do for my country," said Rahul, who will be stepping into the shoes of MS Dhoni, who retired this year.

Sanju Samson is the other wicketkeeper in the ODI squad while Rahul remains the sole wicketkeeper in the T20I squad.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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