Lucknow, Oct 28 (PTI) K L Rahul has a "bittersweet" feeling returning to the ground where he injured his thigh almost six months ago.
His "tendon was ripped apart" while fielding for Lucknow Super Giants in the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 1. By his own admission that injury, which required a surgery, had a huge impact on him both physically and mentally.
Having excelled both as a batter and wicketkeeper since his comeback in Asia Cup last month, Rahul looked back at the phase that made him a stronger person.
"Yes, I am a little sad about that. Whoever has an injury, if you ask anyone - they undergo surgery and to come back, it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and you have to go through that which is not very easy.
"I can't say that (injury) it is not in my mind. Yesterday when I came to the ground, last memory of this ground is that - falling down and injuring myself. Hopefully I can put that aside and I can make some better and happier memories to forget all of that," he said ahead of the England game here on Sunday.
Rahul copped a lot of flak for his batting before the injury happened. The team management however had unwavering faith in him and he has now repaid that faith with his effort with the bat and behind the stumps.
His batting talent was never in question but the work he put on his keeping during the rehab has also borne fruit. His diving catch down the leg side to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz in Pune is a result of that hardwork.
"During the process of getting fitter as well, I did focus a lot on wicket keeping along with my batting. The medical team at the NCA felt like - with the kind of injury I had, the difficult part would be wicket keeping more than the batting.
"The things that I've worked much more harder on is my fitness and my wicket keeping. Then came batting so it was in that order. So, I did work a lot on my wicket-keeping there and yeah, even when I've come back here, I've spent a lot of time wicket-keeping. I feel like that requires a bit more time and effort from my side.
"It's as simple as any other skill. The more you do, the harder you work on it, you have the best chance to do well and I am taking wicket-keeping seriously because in India, in these conditions, it will be important to have your technique right, to have your glove-work right." "Outside noise did affect me" ================== He also spoke about what he did to ignore the "outside noise".
"I tried to address outside noise for a long time, I thought it won't affect me, but in the last year or so it started affecting me. And then I realized that I will have to work on it. And when I got time, outside of the game, I tried to work on that side - mentally you got to get a lot more stronger, a lot more thick-skinned.
"So yeah, so that really helped me being away from the game." Team Combination ============ In the media interaction, Rahul also indicated that the team will continue with five bowlers in Hardik Pandya's absence. Suryakumar Yadav will bat at six like he did in Dharamsala.
Asked if Hardik's absence will change his mindset with the bat at number five, he said: "Hardik has also been a very important member of the team and he has been there and he does a very important role for the team.
"So not having him is also a bit of a miss for the team. But it's unfortunate what happened. And yeah, we also at some point have to look at that and the present is that he is not available for this game.
"Surya will probably get his chance and we know what Surya can do. So, our confidence is in Surya till Hardik comes back." Setting up target =========== India have ended up chasing in all five games and have done that successfully.
In the remaining four league games, India won't mind batting first if the situation arises and management has also spoken about that possibility.
"We have not really gone too much into it. "So whatever opportunities we've gotten we've done well but again it will be a good opportunity if in the next four games if we can get to bat first. It'll be a good challenge for us to just see how to pace the innings and it's been some time since we've batted first," he added. PTI BS KHS KHS KHS