Former India batsman Aakash Chopra feels trusting the process and not worrying too much about the result has helped Indian opener, KL Rahul, in making a successful comeback in Test cricket.
Aakash Chopra Backs KL Rahul
Rahul was not India’s first-choice opener ahead of the start of the ongoing five-match Test series against England but opened the batting with Rohit Sharma in the first Test in Nottingham following injuries to Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal.
Despite playing his first Test in two years, the stylish right-hander looked in splendid touch as he went on to notch up a brilliant 84 in India’s first innings in Nottingham.
He followed it up with a century in the recently-concluded Lord’s Test to bag the Man of the Match and help India win by 151 runs.
In a column on a sports media, former India cricketer Aakash Chopra explained how Rahul was able to make a comeback as a Test opener for India.
“‘Eager’ has two very different meanings – keen and anxious. When you start, you are keen. But little do you know when keenness turns into anxiety. You start thinking too much about the result and too little about the process. It’s not that you aren’t putting in the hours, but you stop noticing the joy of playing the game, the melody of ball hitting the bat. And then one day, you stop obsessing about the result and things start to fall in place again.
“Rahul’s comeback as an opener in Test cricket wasn’t so much about his ability to succeed at the top – you don’t score five Test tons (four of them away from home) if you don’t have the skills. For me, it was about his eagerness to do the right thing. Was he keen or was he anxious?” Chopra wrote.
‘If his first innings of the tour, 84 at Trent Bridge, showed that he’s trusting his skills against the new ball, Rahul’s century at Lord’s established that he is back for good.
“It takes a lot of patience and self-belief to hang around for 18 runs off 100 balls when you know you have the shots to score faster, and to also insulate yourself from the fact that your opening partner has outscored you massively (at that point, Rohit Sharma was on 81 of 122 balls),” he further added.
“Rahul isn’t anxiously eager to get bat on ball and is in a happy place while leaving a lot of deliveries alone. He isn’t anxiously eager to hit an extra shot on the up either. Instead, he’s willing to bide his time and wait for the right moment to up the ante. It’s not that minor errors will never find their way into his batting or that he’ll never go out of form again, but it’s very heartening to see him bat the way he is right now. The next challenge for him is to extend this good form for as long as possible,” he signed off.