'To hell and back' is how one can describe young leg-spinner Rahul Sharma's career in the past couple of seasons but the lanky Punjab lad is all focussed on performing his heart out for the Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2014, thanks to words of wisdom from Anil Kumble and Yuvraj Singh.
When the police revealed that he had tested positive for consuming recreational drugs at a rave party after the 2012 IPL season, Rahul, then a 25-year-old upcoming star of Indian cricket was left shell shocked.
But a pat on the back and some necessary guidance from former India captain Kumble and his senior statemate Yuvraj helped him get his focus back on his game.
"BCCI helped me a lot to overcome that period. My idol Anil Kumble, Yuvi paaji, my coaches, family and friends supported me and helped me forget that period. Anil bhai, Yuvi paaji and even Virat Kohli encouraged me and told me to concentrate on my game," Rahul told PTI in an interview in New Delhi.
"I have overcome that incident which to some extent affected my game. I have come out of that phase. I am feeling great at the moment. My bowling is also looking good. Cricket is everything to me and I am looking forward to having a good IPL season with the Delhi Daredevils franchise," said Rahul.
"I had spoken to mediapersons on this topic when I was part of the India 'A' tour. I had said I was not involved (in the consumption of drugs). I remained disturbed for a year or so. It was a very tough period. I had never thought that such thing would happen to me. I was shocked. I was feeling low," Rahul said.
The 27-year-old Rahul wants to give his all for the Delhi Daredevils in order to get back into the India side. "I would give my 100 per cent in the IPL to get into the Indian side. I have full faith in my abilities. It feels great to be part of the Delhi Daredevils family," he said.
Rahul, who has played in four ODIs picking up six wickets, said he would have to do "extremely well" in the IPL to get into the Indian side with another leggie and senior pro Amit Mishra making a case for his regular selection with impressive performances.
"Amit bhai has been bowling well for the last one and a half years. I have always received support from him. I know I have to do extremely well to make a case for my selection," he said.
Rahul said he would try to learn "as many things as possible" from former India coach Gary Kirsten, who has joined the Delhi franchise as head coach.
"I have heard a lot about him. He always try to get the best out of youngsters. I am looking forward to meeting him and getting important cruicketing tips from him," he said.
The 6 feet 4 inch tall leg-break bowler refused to buy the argument that Shahbaz Nadeem would pose a threat to his place in the playing XI. "I don't feel so. I have full faith in my abilities. I am feeling confident about my bowling.
"It would be an advantage for me playing in sub-continent conditions. I have never played in that region and it would be a new experience for me. I think the two venues will suit my bowling," he said.