New Delhi: It was during a drinks break of the Vijay Hazare Trophy match between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on Monday that KL Rahul got the news of his selection in the Indian Test team for the tour of Australia but he said he was only concerned about winning the ongoing match at that time. (A New Era in Test Cricket)
"We were fielding against Tamil Nadu today (at Secunderabad) when the substitute fielder came at the drinks break to inform me about my selection and also that Robin (Uthappa) and Vinay (Kumar) have been included in the One-Day squad against Sri Lanka. It felt nice as we also won by big margin," soft-spoken Rahul told PTI. (Dhoni to Miss First Test in Australia, Kohli to Lead)
For Rahul, although selection in the Indian team is a big thing, he was not under any extra pressure when he played the Duleep Trophy final in the Capital recently scoring 185 and 130 in the two innings against Central zone.
"Frankly speaking, I was not even aware that selectors were present. Also I was more into a zone where I wanted to score a big hundred. On the opposite there was Pankaj (Singh), who has recently played Test match for India, there is Piyush (Chawla), who has played for India and Ishwar (Pandey), who was with the national team. So it was a potent bowling attack. (In Dhoni's Absence, Saha and Ojha Vie for Wicketkeeping Slots)
"Also at the back of my mind, there was one thing. I knew that I have to play without pressure as this was certainly not my last chance to impress the national selectors," said the 22-year-old, who has scored 2100 in 27 first-class games at an average of 51.21 with six centuries to his credit.
Australia will be completely different ball game and Rahul knows that he will have to prepare well in the interim for the tough test ahead.
"If I have got results this season, it was because of the hardwork put in during off-season with my coach Samuel Jayaraj. Once I am back in Bangalore, I am planning to practise against the wet tennis balls from 18 yards and also with plastic ball on concrete pitches to reduce my reaction time for strokes," said Rahul.
When asked if he was thinking about reducing the weight of his bat, Rahul replied, "No I haven't thought about reducing the weight of my bat. I didn't do that when I went to Australia with India A but yes I would use bats which would have the "sweet spot" a bit on the higher side rather than the meat being at the bottom. These are my little ways of preparing for the tour."
Asked if he had ever batted better than the Duleep Trophy final, Rahul said, "Those two centuries were certainly special as it came on the big stage but I believe I have played better innings under tougher circumstances for my state Karnataka during Ranji Trophy."