Before his comeback to the Indian team in the just-concluded Asia Cup 2023, there were some concerns raised over KL Rahul’s match fitness as he was out of action since May this year due to thigh surgery.
However, the wicketkeeper-batter put all the doubts to rest with his remarkable display. On his comeback match against Pakistan in the Super 4 round, Rahul smashed a dazzling century (111* off 106 balls) batting at No. 4.
He was also impressive behind the stumps with India pushing him despite the presence of a specialist Ishan Kishan in the squad.
With the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 around the corner, Rahul ticked a lot of boxes and he is now a relieved man.
“I was a bit worried a couple of weeks ago (because of the niggle) but everything worked out really well," Rahul said after India’s 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final.
“Got to play some really good games against competitive teams and got to spend some time in the middle, got few runs, did well with the gloves so a lot of boxes ticked for me. Great to be back with the team, great to join in a winning way, hopefully this continues for the next couple of months."
Rahul acknowledged that he had to adjust to the challenging conditions in Sri Lanka after practicing on batting-friendly Bengaluru pitches.
“I am coming from playing in Bengaluru for the last four months, practising there, we get beautiful wickets back home (for batting). So that’s the challenge and you look forward to it. Happy that I was challenged and got to spend time in the middle. Probably not this much but these are the kind of wickets we are expecting during the World Cup. Where I bat in the middle overs, playing spin will be really important," he said.
In the Asia Cup final, India annihilated Sri Lanka to clinch their record-extending eighth Asia Cup title. Asked to bat first, the Men in Blue rode Mohammed Siraj’s six-wicket haul (6/21) to bundle out Sri Lanka for a mere 50 and then overhauled the target in just 6.1 overs.
“It’s good to play game like this where bowlers get help and they have got a lot of help throughout the tournament. Phenomenal to see how they bowled, Siraj especially. Even though there was help but it takes a lot of control to put the ball in the right areas and he did the job for us. Everyone else chipped, kept the pressure up. We were hoping for something more competitive in the final but this will do a world of good for our bowlers," Rahul stated.