What's your game plan?
Kannur Lokesh Rahul, or K.L., is the epitome of an all-rounder, excelling equally in the three formats of international cricket while playing other sports to relax. Patience is an integral part to game time and recovery time and this is something the 25-year-old is focused on to ensure success.
This is K.L. Rahul’s game plan.
What’s involved in mastering three formats of international cricket?
Each format challenges you differently. We play all three formats very close to each other. I finish test cricket and have to change and play the one-day or T20 game in three or four days. There’s no match preparation time for you. That’s the fun of sport, that’s the fun of playing cricket. You get challenged differently every day.
If you ask me what my favorite format would be, I’d say test cricket because that’s the real test. You might get a hundred on day one and you go back to bad the second day. You might be out on the first ball. You have to wait your turn for two more days. But during all this time you have to keep your mind clear and keep your mind calm and wait for your opportunity to go out there to perform well. That’s how cricket challenges you and I love that.
An unwelcome challenge that cricket has also brought you is injury.
Yes, I’ve been injured a lot over the past year and it’s hard to stay motivated knowing you’re going to be away from sports for the next six or eight weeks. Quite honestly, that gets boring sometimes but it’s how you can tackle all of that and still put on a brave face, still be positive and still want to get out there and perform when you’re fit.
I’ve always been an athletic person and I’ve always loved sport and if it wasn’t cricket I would’ve played some other sport. I play a lot of football. I play a lot of badminton. I try my hand at tennis and golf. My way of rejuvenating or taking a break from cricket is actually to play some other sport for a while.
What support system do you use to get through the low moments?
There are people I look up to in the team who I feel confident that I can go and talk to. It’s important to get feedback from a person who’s been in the same situation and maybe he’s tackled it. He’s found answers for himself.
But it’s also good to talk to somebody away from sport as well just to get their feedback. Then it’s mostly my friends and my family. I speak to them on a daily basis about what I went through in my day and I get their view. It’s important to have someone who knows you on a personal level and what you are going through.
How much strength and excitement do you take from the Indian fans during a game?
You do get criticized sometimes but there are fans that you see on a daily basis who genuinely wish you well. They write to you, post different pictures or different quotes on social media, telling you things will be better if you had a bad day.
In India, cricket’s a religion. People follow it too much actually. The fact that they come out to watch every game and support you day in and day out is something that motivates you to do better.
Where else do you enjoy playing?
The Sydney cricket ground will be one of my most favorite cricket grounds. The reason is I got my first international hundred in Sydney and so it’ll always be very memorable. I didn’t expect the crowd in Australia to support an Indian team but they did – to see the whole crowd stand up and clap for me when I got my hundred was something very memorable. I won’t forget that feeling.