Rahul, who kept wicket in this series, told Star Sports, “One thing that I like very much is that you do not have to rush to bat.” “You get time to put your feet up, take a nice cold shower, have a good meal and then relax and then see what’s happening before you go in. That’s the cool thing about batting at No.5 “
“Batting at No.5 has helped me understand my game a bit better. Given that the ball is a bit old, you have to play straight spin and I usually don’t do that. Obviously Rohit [Sharma] It is very clear that is where he wants me to bat and he has told me. So now I’m challenging myself to get used to the position.”
On Thursday, Rahul came in when India, chasing 216, were reduced to 62 for 3 in the 10th over. He then added an edge with risk-free batting and stitched useful partnerships with Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel to take India to victory. Line. Rahul credited India’s bowlers for bowling out Sri Lanka for 215 in less than 40 overs, which did not leave India with a challenging ask rate.
“The bowlers bowled really well, they kept up the pressure and when you get a team all out for 200-220, it becomes a little easier to chase later,” Rahul said. “You know three-four runs in an over is not that challenging, but Sri Lanka put up a good fight. They started really well with the ball, got early breakthroughs and the pressure was on us, but we enjoyed ourselves in the middle. took.” [I had] Good partnership with Shreyas, Hardik and Akshar.”
“When I went up to bat in the last game [at 213 for 3]Obviously we were in a comfortable position and we needed to carry on and really focus on bowling and not give ourselves too many balls. Today was different. When I came in, we were chasing 3.5-4 runs an over, lost four wickets so it was important that we soak in that pressure and see that the main bowlers don’t really come into play.”
In the post-game press conference, Rahul said that he did not feel stressed over consistency in the batting line-up due to the ups and downs in his batting numbers over the years. Instead, he felt that he was being asked to move up or down the order depending on the team’s combination and strategy – a sign that the team management was confident enough to trust him.
Rahul said, ‘First of all I want to be in the playing XI, that is the most important thing.’ “I try to do what the team wants me to do. That’s what I’ve done the whole time I’ve played for India,” he said.
“I remember batting in the first Test, I batted at No.6. Then I opened. Then I was at No.6 in the 2019 World Cup. Then after Shikhar was injured [Dhawan], I had to go back to reopen. I have played at No.5, I have played at No.4, I have been asked to keep wickets. I think it’s a lot of fun for me. I have performed well in difficult situations and under pressure. It tells me that the team trusts and supports me. It has helped me understand my batting and myself better. When you decide to choose a team sport as a sport or profession, you have to be willing or flexible to do whatever work is asked of you.”
With Rahul no longer the vice-captain in ODIs and plenty of wicketkeeping and middle-order options to manage ahead of the World Cup later this year, the Kolkata innings becomes all the more crucial for him. India needed someone to spearhead the chase after a top-order falter, and Rahul didn’t leave the field until the job was done.
Shrestha Shah is the Deputy Editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx