Covid-19 has taken a toll on the cricketers, and KL Rahul is no different. So when he stepped on the cricket field, for the first time in fove months, he couldn't help shedding tears.
"After running on concrete and treadmill for months, when you step onto the ground you feel like you're walking on a cloud," Rahul told TOI.
"It's difficult to explain the feeling. I was half in tears, half smiling. In fact, I just couldn't stop smiling. Just to be able to get out and run on the ground felt so good."
Talking about the lockdown, Rahul said, "It taught me to be grateful for a lot of things in life like just being healthy and having food on the table. During the period I also learnt to be a lot more patient. I'm grateful that I got to spend quality time with my family, which I haven't been able to do since my junior cricket days. It gave me an opportunity to reach out to and help less fortunate people. Also, I learnt to cook."
Not being able to focus on fitness was certainly one of the drawbacks. "Not having that chance to go to the gym or practice was frustrating," he said. "But we adapted well. We managed to put together gyms at home. Some of us started cycling, running in the car parks of apartments. We didn't have a choice. There were days when I was annoyed and frustrated, but I kept telling myself there were a lot of others having it much harder and tougher in life."
But even more difficult was dealing with anxiety surrounding the game. "I was scared," he admitted. "I kept wondering if my skills would remain the same when I returned to the sport. I had nightmares. A couple of times I woke up in the middle of the night because I dreamt I had forgotten how to pick the line and length. It scared the hell out of me. To be honest, when I went back to play the first session, it was horrible because I was rusty."
Rahul would lead a team in the IPL for the very first time, and is excited that he has Anil Kumble as a coach.
"I'm lucky because we share a great understanding. We go a long way and he's seen me from my younger days. I've always looked up to Anil bhai.
"He has led the country, has a wealth of experience and has played this format as well. His knowledge of the game will be of great help in my first year as captain. His guidance and experience will be valuable. It will help me make good decisions in the middle," pointed out Rahul.
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