Tough to be in and out: Rahul


But he would have gladly taken the fluent 57 he made on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka here on Thursday. Having spent some frustrating time on the sideline as he went through a long and “boring” rehab following his shoulder surgery just ahead of the Indian Premier League, the right-hander was just happy to be on the field again and to be walking out to bat again. Visibly happy, Rahul spoke of the tough times, his hunger to perform and his learnings during the period. Excerpts. 

How significant was this innings in the backdrop of your long injury lay-off? 

The significance being, it’s been a long time I have been away from the game at such a young age. It’s a big challenge, very unfortunate that I had to sit out for so long. Like I said, at such a young age how do you keep yourself positive, how do you keep yourself focused and motivated to come back as soon as you can… That was the biggest challenge for me but the minute I walked out onto the middle, I was very happy more than anything else. If I did well or didn’t do well, didn’t matter to me because I was very happy. Not being able to play cricket was tough but once I am back, I am really happy and even more happy I could start off with a fifty and make some contribution to the team.

How do you cope with such situations?

I have kind of gotten used to this. More than playing for a long time, I have been in and out of the team because of injuries. It’s never easy to come back. It takes you a couple of games to get back into your groove as an opening batsman, understand where your off-stump is, to understand what pace you have to play at, how many shots are too many shots, how slow is too slow… There are a lot of things, a lot of doubts in your mind if you keep going out and coming back in but yeah I have enjoyed the challenge. It’s kind of taught me to value my position, value my opportunities each time go out on to the middle. I enjoy it and play it like my last game. That’s something that has really worked well for me.

You were upset with Pujara after your run out…

I wasn’t upset with him. Run outs happen, it could have happened with anybody. It could have been him who got run out and it could have been my mistake. I wasn’t disappointed about that. I was disappointed because I have been away from the game so long and I didn’t want to get out at all. I wanted to be in the middle, play as many balls as I could, as many days as I could if I could bat. I was disappointed about that.

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