New Delhi: He has not said it in as many words but reserve opener KL Rahul dropped enough hints that he could seamlessly settle into the key No.4 position, a conundrum the Indian team is carrying into the World Cup.
Despite much debate and discussion around the batting position, who would bat at number four — Vijay Shankar or Rahul – remains a riddle.
“The selectors have made it clear. I am part of the team and will go with whatever the team decides when we get there,” Rahul told this agency in an interview when asked specifically about batting at No.4.
Head coach Ravi Shastri said the combinations would entirely depend on the prevailing conditions in England. All that could go wrong, went wrong for the stylish opener in December-January when runs deserted him in the Test series in Australia before he and his teammate Hardik Pandya suffered the ignominy of being called from the tour in the wake of their outrageous comments on women during a TV show.
The 27-year-old even began to doubt himself as a person but the fighter in him did not give up. Suspended from the national team, Rahul was asked play for India A in the home series against England Lions and he was back amongst the runs.
In the following T20s against Australia, he scored morale boosting 50 and 47 and carried that form into the IPL, where he ended up as the second-highest run getter with 593 runs at 53.90.
“Form is an overrated word,” said Rahul who goes into his maiden World Cup at the top of his game, having overcome the controversy-laden six months of his career.
“The last couple of months have been good with the bat. Playing the series against England Lions gave me time to focus on my skill, then did well in T20s against Australia and then the IPL. I am feeling pretty confident,” Rahul said.
Self-doubts can creep in when one endures a dismal tour like Rahul had in Australia but he did not over think about his game. “I realised there was no problem with my skills. Form is a very overrated word but yes not performing well in Australia is hard on any player. Everyone wants to perform. I just took it in my stride and took it as part of the journey. I am happy with where I am at right now.”
He discussed what went wrong Down Under with India A coach Rahul Dravid during the England Lions series and both felt no drastic changes were needed in his technique.
“I have not really changed much. Every player goes through rough patches. Technically, I am trying to keep my batting as simple as I can. If you are hitting the ball well, your form, your technique looks good and when you are not, everything about your game looks bad. That is how it goes. Can’t really sit and break your head over it and stay as positive as possible.”