KL Rahul will be India’s new Test vice-captain when he takes the field against South Africa in Centurion. Although he had been acing Test match batting, there are still some questions. What are the odds that the added responsibility won’t affect his batting? Well, the 29-year-old took on the questions head-on, answering that even as an opening batter he always had a responsibility to get the team off to a great start. “Abhi to aya. Abi to match bhi nahi khela (I have just landed in South Africa, I haven’t played a single game), he replied when asked about the possibility. “But I don’t think that much has changed. Mere hisab se to nai (Don’t think so), I have always enjoyed the responsibility. Even as an opener you always have that responsibility that you get your team to a great start.”
He added he sees a greater involvement on the field which will hopefully take the pressure off Virat Kohli a bit. “So my batting role remains the same, but the involvement in the field increases a bit. With regard to the strategy. Let’s see if I can pass some info to the captain tactically. And that would take some pressure off Virat.”
The team benefitted from his superb form in England where he accounted for 315 runs in four matches with a superb average of 40. He also scored a century at the Mecca of Cricket. He said he would like to continue the run flow in South Africa too.
“I don’t think that much. Like ‘I have performed in England so, now I will have to perform here’ (in South Africa). If I don’t, what will happen? My only thing is I prepare with my best ability and give myself a chance. As I said, my preparation has been really good here. I will try and give my best here just like England. The new ball is very important in these conditions and how can I get through that new ball and try and score big for my team. Hopefully, I will be able to continue that form in England.”
He said the team is ‘extra motivated’ to win a Test match in South Africa as a lot has been written about team’s ability to not close Test matches abroad. India have now won Test series everywhere but South Africa.
“Yes it’s a huge series and for us as a team, we have always taken the away series as a challenge. A lot has been said and written about Team India not being able to win a series away from India. And we have worked really really hard towards this and won a series in England and Australia which gives us a lot of confidence. And we are looking forward to this challenge in South Africa. That gives us extra motivation to go out and learn from our past mistakes. And be better this time, try and enjoy and win the series.”