Colombo: India’s wicketkeeper-batter K.L. Rahul admitted that he was worried a bit about his fitness a few weeks ago but is now relieved after ticking a couple of boxes following his good return to international cricket during the 2023 Asia Cup.
Rahul could join the Indian team from the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup as he was recovering from a right thigh injury and a minor niggle. He was a last-minute addition for the game against Pakistan, as Shreyas Iyer was laid low by a back spasm. Rahul made the most of it by smashing 111 not out, 39 against Sri Lanka and 19 against Bangladesh.
He also took up wicketkeeping duties, taking four catches and effecting a stumping too.
“I was a bit worried a couple of weeks ago but got to play some good games against competitive teams. Scored runs and was good with the gloves, a few boxes ticked for me. Hopefully, this continues for the next couple of months,” said Rahul after the match ended.
Rahul is now eager to front up against spinners in middle overs ahead of the ODI World Cup at home. “I have been playing in Bangalore for four months, beautiful wickets for batting there. Happy that I got to spend time in the middle, it was a good challenge.”
“Playing spin will be important in the middle overs in the World Cup, looking forward to that challenge. It’s good to play games where bowlers get help. Siraj was phenomenal. He did the job for us, and everyone else chipped in as well. We’ll take this win.
Ishan Kishan, the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter, credited the bowlers for the ten-wicket thrashing over Sri Lanka, with Mohammed Siraj taking a deadly 6-21 and added that he was elated over getting the chance to open the innings.
“All credit to the bowlers, they bowled incredibly well. They were on point from the very first ball. Especially Siraj who was exceptional. We’ve played a few matches here and we knew it wasn’t easy to bat second, but it’s okay to lose tosses and we were ready for any situation.”
“Opening was a nice opportunity to go out and play my shots and rotate the strike. Thanks to the skipper for the opportunity. I was just looking to do what I’ve been doing in the middle order.”
Hardik Pandya, who took three wickets in the final, praised Siraj and his utilisation of the new ball in dismantling the Sri Lankan batting order.
“As a group, we spoke about finishing games and throwing punches in the pressure situation. It was a good toss to lose, we wanted to bat as well.”
“I think our new bowlers, especially Siraj bowled really well. He got it swinging and created a lot of chances. Nowadays in ODI cricket, the new ball has been swinging and we have been speaking about getting the most. The first few overs, the ball didn’t even hit the bat.”
All-rounder Shardul Thakur was happy over the Asia Cup triumph giving the team ideas on the combination for the World Cup after a clinical finale performance in Colombo.
“It (the final match) got over within the blink of an eye. Couldn’t get better than this. Bumrah started well and what a spell it was from Siraj. It was a brilliant effort from his side. Hardik got those last three wickets. It was a clinical performance by the bowlers.”
“Gill and Ishan got done with the chase. I think it was more of a combination of how we are going to play in the World Cup. KL (Rahul) scoring that ton against Pakistan, what a comeback for him. We feel that we are a settled side, everyone is ready to showcase their skills. Whenever I’ll play, I’ll try to contribute to the team.”