KL Rahul says that the "hard time" he endured in the wake of a chat show controversy has "humbled" him and he now values his national cap more than ever. "It was a hard time no doubt. I mean, as a player, as a person, everyone has to go through difficult times and it was my time to go through that and I like I said it gave me time to reflect on my game, on myself. I have always been someone who takes things as it comes," said Rahul after the second T20 International against Australia in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Rahul made a successful comeback with scores of 47 and 50 but the hosts lost the two-match series 0-2.
Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul appeared on a TV chat show earlier this year and sparked outrage with their sexist comments about women.
Social media was enraged as Hardik Pandya bragged about his "hook-ups" with several women and said he liked to check them out at bars or nightclubs.
While Pandya boasted about being open with his parents about the liaisons, Rahul was more reserved with his comments.
Nevertheless, the pair was blasted for their distasteful remarks by Twitter users.
Consequently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suspended the duo for an indefinite period and ordered them to return home in disgrace from India's ongoing tour of Australia.
However, their bans were later revoked pending an inquiry.
Asked if the entire controversy has changed him as a person, the 26-year-old said, "It has humbled me a little bit and you know. I respect the opportunity that I have gotten to play for the country. The dream of every kid is to play for the country and I am no different.
"Just to value where I am, just to keep making opportunities count and put my head down and keep working on my cricket," he added.
"I got some time off from international cricket, so I could come back to India and reflect on what was not going right for me. Fortunately, I got to play some India A games where the pressure is a bit less and where I could focus on my skill and my technique," said Rahul.
(With PTI inputs)