India’s star wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul said he is loving the challenges being thrown at him after the team romped to a historic 5-0 series whitewash against New Zealand on Sunday.
KL Rahul, who has been opening the innings for India in the absence of injured Shikhar Dhawan, was also handed the gloves in the ongoing T20I series. On Sunday, it was also time for Rahul to lead the side in the absence of an injured Rohit Sharma who was named stand-in after Virat Kohli rested himself for the 5th T20I.
Apart from smashing a 33-ball 45 and affecting a crucial run-out, KL Rahul was proactive as he marshalled the troops well during New Zealand’s chase of 164. Rohit Sharma did not take the field after retiring hurt on 60.
India clinched a 7-run win and sealed the T20I series 5-0. KL Rahul top-scored for India with a record tally of 224 runs over 5 matches against the Black Caps.
“It was a special feeling, leading your country is always the second dream – the first one’s of course to play for your country,” said Rahul.
“It was unfortunate what happened to Rohit. Every day I wake up, everyday I’m thrown a new responsibility. I’m very grateful and I’m loving the challenges being thrown at me. It was great to see how we responded without our main leaders – Rohit and Virat.”
Lauding the bowlers who delivered under pressure in the 5th T20I on Sunday, KL Rahul said it was heartening to see them taking responsibility in the absence of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
“I can’t do much (on bowling) from behind the stumps. They come up with their own plans, they set their own fields, and more often than not, they have executed what they wanted to do. In a T20 you’re bound to go for runs at times, but the way they’ve held their nerve, it’s amazing to see.”
Virat, Rohit, Jasprit huge inspirations: KL Rahul
KL Rahul said he is relishing the multiple roles he is able to do for the team’s cause and said he doesn’t need to look any further than their own dressing room for inspiration.
“Obviously. When you have such big players in the dressing room, you don’t have to look elsewhere for inspiration. Be it Virat, Rohit, I see the way they play. In a way, Jasprit has been an inspiration. These boys perform consistently. We love spending time with each other. There is no junior or senior in the dressing room. We have a common goal, that is to win games of cricket,” said Rahul.
“It is a big confidence booster to see the coaches, the support staff and the captain have belief in me. They have the faith that whatever the situation, they see me fit for that situation. That gives you a lot of confidence as a player. Whenever people trust you like this, it motivates you to work on your skills and be in the best mindset possible to deliver and perform for the team.”
Having sealed the T20I series 5-0, India will be looking to carry forward the winning into the 3-match ODI series, starting February 5.