K.L. Rahul had not even carried his kit bag to the R. Premadasa Stadium on Sunday, with India’s team management having decided to pace the man on a comeback mission slowly in the Asia Cup, with an eye on the World Cup, starting in three weeks.
With Shreyas Iyer breaking down with a back spasm minutes before the toss against Pakistan, the team manager had to rush back to the hotel to get Rahul’s kit bag.
Since then, the Karnataka cricketer has had a fairytale ride for the following 48 hours. Having marked his comeback with an unbeaten hundred versus Pakistan on Monday, Rahul returned to the stadium the next day and played a mature knock against Sri Lanka on Tuesday that proved to be vital.
In trying conditions for batters, Rahul’s patient 39 proved vital in India registering a 41-run victory against Sri Lanka and sailing into the Asia Cup final with a game to spare.
Trusted my preparation
“I am happy with how the last two games have gone. You don’t get too much time to feel anything but I trusted the way I had prepared the last three-four months before coming to Sri Lanka,” Rahul said on Tuesday night.
“I was a little nervous initially but as I started facing a few balls I felt alright. I was thinking that I will be in the playing XI and that’s how I prepared. I was confident that I can still go there and do the job.”
With the ball holding up and turning in to a dry pitch on Tuesday afternoon and Dunith Wellalage literally making the ball talk, Rahul had to play the waiting game against Sri Lanka.
“I didn’t want to go into a shell. I was just trying to assess the situation and see what shots I can feel in that situation and play accordingly. I am happy with my shot selection till the point I got out.”
Having done all the hard work, with the bat and with the wicketkeeping gloves, Rahul has proven his fitness. It will be interesting to see if he can carry on in the same vein for the next two months.