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ICC World Cup 2019 | Really Happy With How I Have Bounced Back: KL Rahul

Cricketnext Staff | June 3, 2019, 7:28 PM IST

The No. 4 position in the Indian batting line-up has been a topic of national debate ever since Ambati Rayudu was left out of the scheme of things by the national selectors in the lead up to the ICC World Cup.

Before India reached England and Wales, the names of Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni and KL Rahul were doing the rounds for filling up this critical position in the line-up. Young Karnataka opener Rahul seems the front-runner now for the position for India’s first game against South Africa at Southampton come June 5, after a sizzling century in the warm-up game against Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Rahul, who came to bat in the No. 4 position in both the warm-up games against New Zealand and Bangladesh, smashed 108 off just 99 balls with four sixes and 12 fours and put on 164 runs for the fifth wickets with former skipper MS Dhoni, who clobbered a 78-ball 113, as India powered to a 95-run win over Bangladesh.

“I’m really happy with how I’ve bounced back and this gives me lots of confidence,” Rahul said after the win in Cardiff on Tuesday. “When you play at this level you have to handle the pressure and the responsibility. We know we have to be tried and tested,” he added.

Rahul had a very rocky start to 2019 after an ill-advised appearance with Hardik Pandya on TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’. It led to Rahul and Pandya’s ban for five ODIs on the Australia and New Zealand tour and put their berths in the India line-up under serious jeopardy.

Rahul also insists his time away from the team earlier this year has made him hungrier for success. “It can give a player new perspective, a chance to reflect,” he said.

“I spent time with friends and family and made the best of the situation. I spent the time working on my batting and technique and understanding how you manage things when your form is not so good. I was just hungry to come back and score runs,” Rahul, who was also fined Rs 20 lakh by the BCCI Ombudsman for his indiscretions, said.

Since then, Rahul had a fine outing in IPL-12 with Kings XI Punjab, notching up 593 runs in 14 games at an average of 53.90 with one century and six fifties.

“Where I play is not for me to decide. It’s a team game and you need to be flexible. You need to be ready to bat, whatever you are given, you have to take what is thrown at you,” the 27-year-old said.

“Everyone seems to have great confidence with bat and ball, everyone is in great nick. These matches have been a great opportunity to get used to the 50-over format after coming from the IPL,” the KXIP opener added.

In his last game Rahul dragged a delivery on to his stumps by New Zealander Trent Boult for just six. But batting with Dhoni, reduced a lot of weight from Rahul’s shoulder although India were struggling at 102/4 at that stage.

“Batting with Dhoni is always a dream for me. I’ve been lucky we have been able to share a few big partnerships over the years.

“He just dominated the spinners and is striking the ball so well. It’s a great sign for us and it’s just a pleasure to watch him from the other end when he is playing like that,” he added.

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3 England 4366 104
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5 Australia 3270 99
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2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
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