Exclusive: Hard work and discipline - Cricketer K L Rahul's keys to success
Shreyas H S
Pics: Brijesh Garodi
Mangalore, Feb 24: Passion grooms interest, but its discipline that brings success. Emerging cricketer K L Rahul from Mangalore, who recently sprouted to limelight has successfully captured the attention of many stalwarts in the cricketing fraternity. Not only did he win accolades from batting legend Rahul Dravid, he also evoked passion for cricket among Mangalorean kids.
Rahul played an extraordinary innings in the recent Ranji Trophy which allowed the team to lift the most coveted cricketing cup of the country. The series put him into spotlight and most of the elite cricketers are keeping an eye on him hoping that this prominent cricketer may find his place in the Indian team.
Amidst packed schedule after playing for Irani Trophy and readying himself for the much awaited IPL season-7, K L Rahul managed to spare time for an exclusive interview to daijiworld. This is his first interview after ever since the Ranji Trophy win.
DW: At the age of 21, you have not only captured the attention of coaches across Karnataka, but even batting legend Rahul Dravid. How did you groom yourself to achieve all this?
Rahul: I strongly believe that my hard work brought me into this successful phase. And I have a long way to go. Moreover, I personally feel that my achievements so far are not enough. For me this is not a very young age. I could have delivered much more promising cricket at this age. But, going by my current form, I can see myself playing only better from here on.
DW: It is said that you held the cricket bat at the age of eleven. And your coach, Jayaraj Muttu says that right from the beginning you exhibited immense passion towards cricket, even attending practice sessions on your own with a strict discipline.
Rahul (With a pause): See, passion is required to elevate your interest towards the game. But passion doesn't fetch the success one envisages, unless a person inculcates discipline within himself. I was passionate about many games. Cricket somehow came naturally into my life and as it happened, my coach worked hard to build discipline in me. This made me attend every practice session of my life till today.
DW: Can you share any enduring memory of playing at Nehru Stadium?
Rahul: For me each game is an enduring memory. Right from a young age, I dreamt of playing a good game at the stadium. Also if I recall, my cricketing journey began from this ground. Particularly speaking, playing amidst many players with bat and ball is my most cherished memory at Nehru Stadium. This stadium provided me opportunity to exhibit my skills, temperament and talent. Hence, I always love coming back to Mangalore and play in this stadium.
DW: Do you feel that lots of talents are being left out from the Indian team because of the problem of plenty before the selection committee?
Rahul: This is India, the country that produces as many as 200 talented cricketers every year. So obviously the competition level is very high. We cannot blame the selection committee for not selecting a few talents to the team.
Talent is never the sole criteria for the selectors to the domestic player into the team India. It is consistency of a player in different formats of the game, like ODI, 20-20, and Test that make him a contender for the national team. In India most of the young lads have the talent and unique skills required for the game. When the pool of talents is so vast, one has to set a parameter to select the finest for the national team.
DW: How soon do you think we could see you play for the Indian cricket team?
Rahul: Hmmm, I think I have to consistently perform well. I have to keep up the hard work going. Playing good cricket is my dream and I am not too bothered about when I woud don the Indian cap. Hard work is something I have always done and will continue to do.
DW: Has your experience in playing for India in the Under-19 World Cup helped you to review your mistakes or fine-tune your technique?
Rahul: Yes, I understood the game better after playing the Under-19 World Cup. More than learning from a few games, I believe in learning from each game I play. Whenever I make mistakes in a game, I rectify them the next day in the practice session. Playing big games teaches you to understand other aspects such as maintaining good temperament all through the match.
DW: Coming to the recent victory of Karnataka in Ranji Trophy, your contribution especially in the final match played a huge role in routing Maharashtra. On the whole, how would you rate your performance in the entire Ranji Trophy tournament?
Rahul: Being an opener I proudly say that my contribution was huge to the team. Our coach and team captain groomed me to this level and infused confidence in me that I could bat as an opener in the most important series. The final game was of top priority to the team, wherein I gave my best to ensure that the team lifted the most prestigious cup in the country. Even in other games I played my role to the best of my ability.
DW: Do you believe that the time is ripe for the Indian selectors to turn their attention to team Karnataka? Will the earlier golden era of Karnataka return?
Rahul (smiling): I hope better days are in store for Karnataka. I am confident that each player has the potential to represent team India. Moreover, we have defeated the best teams across the country which is now an added feather in Karnataka's cap.
DW: Who in particular recognized and groomed your talent?
Rahul: It is none other than Jayaraj Muttu and Devdas sir who recognized my talent and dedicated their time on me to help me strengthen my abilities and deliver promising performance.
DW: Recently you crossed the milestone of 1000 runs in domestic first class cricket. How do you feel becoming only the second batsman in this season to touch that milestone?
Rahul: I do not say that I am satisfied, but I felt very happy on reaching that milestone, being an opener for the state that recently celebrated its victory. Rather than dwelling on what I have done in the past, it is always better to look forward and move on to chase many more thousands in the coming years.
DW: Watching and studying the present cricketing scenario, do you agree that different levels of cricket, 20-20, ODI, domestic, and Test would shorten the span of a player's career?
Rahul: I am against such a notion. Playing more cricket invigorates a player's strength rather than damage his career. Now players love to play as many as games as possible to keep the spirit up and maintain consistency. I personally love to play all formats of the game. Now IPL which will commence soon. As a player he should be ready to participate in all games coming his way.