HYDERABAD: KL Rahul was keeping fingers crossed at the start of Karnataka’s one-day match against Tamil Nadu at the Gymkhana on Monday. The 22-year-old knew the India team for the Australia Tests was to be picked. If there were butterflies in his stomach, the 94-ball 67 didn’t show them. “He’s mentally tough,” said coach J Arun Kumar.
It was celebrations time as apart from Rahul’s selection to the Test team for the Australia tour, Robin Uthappa and R Vinay Kumar returned to the ODI team for the last two matches against Sri Lanka. For Rahul, it was a big moment and the Karnataka team celebrated with high-fives.
“Being in the Indian team means a lot to me, my family and my association. I’m happy for Robin (Uthappa) and Vinay (Kumar) who have come back into the one-day side. I’m very happy I’m part of the Indian team. The selectors have showed faith in me and have given me the opportunity.”
Rahul thanked all the coaches who have guided him in various stages. “To come from a small town with big dreams, the association made sure that I was taken care of and put me through lot of camps to make sure that my technique is right. They saw potential in me and did not let me go. I was lucky to be in the U-15 camp where GR Viswanath was the coach.”
Rahul said centuries in the Duleep Trophy final were very vital. “My centuries in the Duleep final helped and caught the selectors’ eyes. I’m happy that those two innings came at the right time.”
The opener is gearing up for the tough tour. “I still have a couple of weeks in India before we leave. I have practised a lot keeping in mind the bouncy wickets of Australia. It’s about going there and enjoying myself. I look in good touch and hope continue with the same form.”
Rahul maintained that he has always been a top-order batsman. “I’ve been opening for my state, but it’s going to be different challenge facing quick bowlers on quick wickets. I’m aware international cricket is a different ball game. I’d sort out a few things in my batting and be ready if I get a chance in Australia,” he signed off.
Arun said Rahul talks with Rahul Dravid quite often. “Obviously, when Rahul tells him he is doing the right things, it’s added inspiration. It’s different level of confidence that the boy gets. He’s mentally and physically strong and dead straight with the bat. He has strokes on the back foot, but is also good on his front foot. He has guts and strokes.”