MUMBAI: Young India batsman Lokesh Rahul today said the lessons he learnt from the likes of Virat Kohli and A B de Villiers in IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore have made him a better cricketer and he would look to "express" himself in the Zimbabwe tour beginning Saturday.
"I spent time with Virat (Kohli) and A B (de Villiers) and asked them questions about what they thought I should do to improve my cricket and be successful in shortest format.
Their ideas and feedback did help me in improving my batting," he told reporters at the open media session before the Indian team's departure to Zimbabwe.
24-year-old Rahul was one of the Indians who did well in the IPL this season.
India are to play three ODIs and three T20 Internationals in Zimbabwe from June 11-22.
He said he would to look to keep it simple and stick to basics in Zimbabwe.
"I did not have time to prepare for this IPL because I was coming back from an injury. It's very important to keep things simple and stick to the basics. I will go out there and perform to my strengths, play cricketing shots.
"Wherever we play, the batsmen have bigger responsibility in ODI and T20 formats, to set up big targets and give that cushion to bowlers. We have been in good form off late in the IPL and in the last couple of years in Ranji Trophy and first class cricket. We are looking out to express ourselves. We are looking out to go out there and have fun," he added.
Asked about the Test season ahead, Rahul said, "Not going to worry about Test matches, this is my first ODI series with the Indian team, so I will focus on doing well there and figure out how I will be successful in Zimbabwe.
"Once we go there, I don't know how the wickets are in Zimbabwe. It will be definitely challenging for the opening batsman and it's a responsibility that I have enjoyed to go out there and give a solid start to my team," said Rahul who has played five Tests but still uncapped in ODIs.
On wicket-keeping, Rahul admitted that he needs improvement and he would be looking to work with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on this aspect.
"About wicket-keeping, I have enjoyed whatever little bit I could do and contribute for RCB. I will have to work a little harder. I will get some time with MS Dhoni in Zimbabwe and my plan is to try to work with him on my wicket-keeping skills and see what feedback he has for me," Rahul said.
"I would like to be in the playing XI and I don't care where I play. It does not really matter where I play," he quipped when asked about his preferred batting position.
Another 24-year-old, Mandeep Singh also said the Zimbabwe tour would be an important opportunity for the youngsters.
"It's a big opportunity for all of us and my goal is to perform well and make a good place in the team. I'm confident as I have been doing well in the shorter format in the past 2-3 years," he said.
"I am excited to wear the Indian jersey. I don't care who the opposition is. I have done a lot of NCA camps, where they taught we have to treat every match same and not think of the result," he added.
He also said that playing alongside the likes of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli have helped him as a cricketer.
"I have been lucky to play alongside both A B de Villiers and Virat (Kohli). I did a lot of technical talk with AB and spoke about fielding and fitness with Virat and batting. The two years which I have been with them is helping me.
"Specifically, I spoke about head positioning with AB and he helped me. I am trying to match fitness level of Virat," added the Punjab lad.
On the batting approach, the right handed batsman said, "I have spoken to Virat and AB. In any format, you have to give time and there are more chances of being successful."