Indian Batter Rahul Responds to Criticism with Performance

Thu Dec 28 2023
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NEW DEHLI, India: KL Rahul, a prominent figure in India’s batting lineup, recently addressed the hurdles posed by external distractions and the scrutiny of social media following his remarkable century against South Africa in Centurion.

Despite his commendable performance, which saw him achieve his eighth Test century with a score of 101 out of a total of 245, he faced criticism alongside accolades.

While Virat Kohli’s contribution of 38 runs stood as the next-best performance for the visiting team, they succumbed to being all-out in the first session of day two. South Africa, propelled by an exceptional unbeaten ton by Dean Elgar (140*), managed to gain a lead in the first innings. Elgar, determined to conclude his Test career on a high note, powered the Proteas’ response. Reflecting on the match, Rahul responded to queries about critiques of his gameplay, particularly from the public, who questioned his form and approach, especially in shorter formats.

“As a person, as a cricketer, as an individual, you are challenged each day, each moment. Social media is a pressure.

“Today I have scored a hundred so people are singing praises. Three, four months ago, everybody was abusing me. It’s part of the game, but I can’t say it doesn’t affect you. It does.

“The sooner you realise that staying away from it is good for your game and your mindset the better it is.”

During the team’s travel, Rahul’s batting at 73.72 and the team’s 3.62 runs per over were pivotal amidst challenging conditions and persistent rain over the initial two days. Rahul acknowledged that his time away due to injury in 2023 allowed him to implement strategies honed during practice, contributing to his performance.

“Each person has to find their way, and for me, when I was injured and was away from the game for such a long time, I worked on myself.

“I tried to go back to the person that I am, and worked on how I don’t change myself by getting affected by these things. It is difficult to remain true to yourself and true to your personality with so much happening. It is the hardest thing.

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“You have your own personality, personality traits, characteristics. When you play international cricket, they all get challenged.

“It does affect each person. And anyone who says that doesn’t affect them at all, I’m sure is lying.

“You can perform or you can be in a better mindset if you slightly know where to draw the line. Nobody’s that great that they can completely avoid what has been said and the criticism they’re getting.”

On the third day, South Africa resumed their innings with an 11-run lead and five wickets remaining, as Elgar partnered with all-rounder Marco Jansen (3*) on the pitch. Captain Temba Bavuma, still to bat, faces uncertainties about his participation due to a hamstring injury suffered during fielding.

Stepping into the captain’s role in Bavuma’s absence, the retiring Elgar wasted no time in recognizing Tony de Zorzi’s crucial 28-run partnership that added 93 runs to the total. Elgar, set to bid farewell, also outlined his intentions moving forward.

“That partnership with myself and Tony was pretty important. The ball was going around, Bumrah was swinging it both ways and Tony did bloody well to get through it.

“I want to go out with a bang, and try and win a Test match and the series. I don’t have anything to lose. Whether I fail or not, it is still coming to an end.”

Rahul holds the belief that if his team’s bowlers can hit their lines early, they have the potential to disrupt Elgar’s farewell by upsetting the outcome of the first Test.

“(We’re) not going to think too far (ahead). Focus on the first session tomorrow.

“I think it’s important to come and bowl in the right areas. We saw there’s still a bit of help in the wicket. Try and get them out as soon as possible, and then we put some runs on board.

“We just focus on the first session and take it from there and we’ll have to see how the wicket plays as well. It’s getting easier to bat on, so it’s important firstly to get those five wickets that are left and then put the big runs on board and then see where the game is.”

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