“Not the first time, always happens with me…”: KL Rahul On Being Indian Captain

KL Rahul, India’s stand-in captain, showcased both as he led the team to victory in the first two ODIs against Australia. Despite the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Rahul’s unwavering determination and stellar performance guided India to a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, serving as a dress rehearsal before the highly anticipated World Cup.

For KL Rahul, being thrust into leadership roles is not a novel experience. He remarked, “Not the first time, always happens with me. I’m used to it, I love it.” Rahul’s ability to thrive in challenging circumstances is a testament to his mental fortitude and adaptability. It was a demanding situation, but Rahul embraced it with open arms.

The intense afternoon heat and humidity posed a significant challenge for the players. Rahul acknowledged the tough conditions and highlighted the team’s commitment to fitness. 

He stated, “I think the intensity in the afternoon was great, after Colombo this felt like heaven at the start but it was really hot and humid. It gets tough and physically challenging, but we’ve all worked on our fitness, and that’s showing on the field.”

Partnerships often define cricket, and Rahul understood the importance of building them, especially after the departure of set batters Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad. 

He emphasized the need to put himself in challenging situations, stating, “After Shubman got out, it was a bit tricky with the set batter out. But managed to build a good partnership with Surya; need to put myself in such challenging situations.”

Rahul highlighted the team’s strategy, which focused on playing good cricketing shots and rotating the strike. He emphasized that this approach is something all their batters are diligently working on. The team aimed to avoid getting bogged down and was committed to maintaining a competitive pace throughout the match.

“We kept talking about hitting good cricket shots, rotating the strike and this is something all our batters are working on. We didn’t want to get bogged down, we were always on par so we wanted to take it deep,” he said.

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In the backdrop of Rahul’s leadership, Mohammed Shami emerged as the match’s hero. Shami’s brilliant performance, securing five wickets for just 51 runs, played a pivotal role in India’s victory. He relished the challenge of bowling in hot and humid conditions and highlighted the satisfaction of taking crucial wickets, including Shaun Marsh.

On the other side, Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, acknowledged that it was not a comprehensive performance from his injury-ridden team. Despite some notable individual performances, the team fell short of expectations. However, Cummins expressed optimism that the series would help them build a good rhythm as they prepare for the ODI World Cup in India.

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