Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul conceded he had put too much pressure on himself when it comes to his approach to limited-overs cricket, saying he wanted to emulate big-hitters of the likes of Chirs Gayle, AB de Villiers and Andre Russell.
KL Rahul said he took time to understand his game and once he did that, he was able to come to terms that he would be able to achieve success with his orthodox shots even in the shorter formats of the game.
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Rahul said watching the likes of Rahul Dravid, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli achieve success in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with their orthodox approach only reaffirmed his belief.
“I think I took a lot of time to realise how to use my gift to suit both T20 and the long format. As a youngster, I was in a confused state and it was the time where I was understanding my game as well. I took time to understand that I can take my classical game to succeed in shorter formats as well,” KL Rahul told India Today.
“As a youngster, I got caught up in the mindset where I wanted to play like Chris Gayle or play like AB de Villiers or hit sixes like Andre Russell. When you’re watching these guys, it makes a big impact, you somehow get carried away with the thought that that’s the only way to be successful.
“I have removed that thought, I thought I don’t want to be anyone else. When I stopped thinking like that, my game became a lot more simpler and the pressure reduced, the pressure I was putting on myself.
“I realised that with proper cricket shots, I can still manage to be successful in white-ball cricket. A lot of cricketers have done that. Rahul Dravid had a lot of success in IPL as well, Kane Williamson also. Virat Kohli is a good mix of aggression and proper cricket shots.
“When I changed my mindset to who I am looking at, then I started to understand that my game is the only way I can be successful and not while trying to be someone else.”
Have learnt a lot about captaincy from the greats: Rahul
Meanwhile, KL Rahul said he himself is looking forward to see how he operates as captain for the 1st time in IPL 2020. Rahul was appointed as captain of the KXIP as Ravichandran Ashwin was traded to the Delhi Capitals ahead of the new season.
Rahul said he has learnt quite a lot about captaincy, watching and playing with the greats of the game and he will approach his stint with an open mind.
“It’s too soon to say anything because it’s something that I haven’t done in a long time. I have captained my state teams and all that but this is a different level. I don’t know how I will react. I am going in with an open mind and trying to do what I have been doing as a player. Well, every player, when they play, everybody plays the game thinking as if they are the leader of the team,” Rahul said.
“Last 6-7 months, I have been wicketkeeping, so it gave me a chance to understand field positions, understand the game, assess the situations and what decisions I can make to help the team.
“I have played under a lot of captains, there are a lot of things I have learnt and picked from each one of them. I am going with an open mind and trying to keep things simple.
“I am as excited as everybody is and I am looking forward to seeing myself in a leadership role.”