Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) opener KL Rahul had a superlative IPL 2018, including the fastest ever fifty in the tournament history. He was brilliant throughout the tournament and kept the team in the race to playoffs almost single-handedly.
He gave credit to team mentor Virender Sehwag for letting the players express themselves in the team. Under the leadership of R Ashwin, Punjab kicked-off the 2018 season on a decent note, winning five of their first six games but faltered in the business end of the league.
“I did go up to Sehwag and spoke to him at different times. He kept his game very simple and that’s his advice to all the players — to go out, trust your gut feeling and enjoy the game with a smile on our face. That’s the kind of freedom he has given to everybody, not just me, be it, batsmen or bowlers,” Rahul said.
“And this is the brand of cricket we want to play as a team, not always keeping in mind the result. We want to be fearless and aggressive. In a tournament like the IPL, sometimes it will work and at other times it won’t. But we have to keep going,” the right-hand batsman added.
Rahul praised captain R Ashwin for his captaincy in the tournament.
“Ashwin, I think, has been great. He spends a lot of time with the youngsters. He makes it clear that he expects the team to be fearless and play with instinct. He is quite proactive on the field and has given players including me a lot of freedom to express myself on the field and give my best,” the 26-year-old said.
“He is the most destructive T20 opener in the world. It is a privilege to open the batting with him and it makes my life so much easier,” Rahul said about Chris Gayle.
Rahul also praised the Red Bull Campus Cricket for helping youngsters grow their game,”Red Bull Campus Cricket was a game changer for me. It gave me the platform to express myself and grow as a cricketer. Due to injuries, I was dropped from the state side and that time in 2013, Red Bull Campus Cricket played a prominent role in my development. I was thrilled to have had a good tournament and then get selected for Karnataka in Ranji. I have never looked back since.”
By Jatin Sharma