KL Rahul: I promise fans the trophy isn't too far

Continuing from the previous edition of the two-part special with Kings XI Punjab’s golden boy Lokesh Rahul, we delve a little bit deeper into the mind of a champion in this edition and how he analyses KXIP’s 11th season.

After letting his bat do the talking for most of the VIVO Indian Premier League, Rahul opened up to kxip.in on a number of topics ranging from the pressures of being KXIP’s Mr Consistent to what lies ahead for the wounded Lions.

Coming into the KXIP camp, was it easy for you to adjust?

It was a very comfortable setup; the franchise is easy going and I enjoyed my time there. There was not a lot of pressure put on anybody from anyone. It was just about enjoying ourselves and giving it our best. Unfortunately, the results didn’t go our way. It was nice of the franchise to be understanding and be very supportive till the end.

Being the consistent batsman for KXIP, what were the instructions to you when you went out to bat?

There were no instructions. It was up to me and Chris (Gayle) to go out there and assess the conditions. We tried to get as many runs as we could in the Powerplay and go on. An opener can not be given a specific role, I feel. It’s up to the individual to asses the condition as soon as you can and communicate it with the rest of the team saying - this is the total we feel is suitable for this kind of wicket, these are the shots that might be suitable for this wicket - so, it’s up to the openers to set the tone and that’s a huge responsibility.

Photo credit: BCCI/IPLT20.com

Which was your favourite moment from the league?

I think it’s the first game when I got a 14-ball 50. It was absolutely unbelievable! I completely outdid myself there. I still am amazed that I got the fastest fifty in the IPL ever and it kind of set the tone for the reason of the season as well. I am grateful for a lot of things this season. I have made great friends along the way, great memories, there has been a lot of learning.

What was your favourite moment in the KXIP camp, off the field?

The second day I joined the camp and we all went paint-balling. I think that was quite funny and there were a lot of incidents from that day that I will remember. There were a few good ones and there were a lot of crazy ones.

Tell us something about Ravichandran Ashwin as a captain.

It was good fun! Obviously, it was a bit up and down because of the results but, we had a good time together. The first half was obviously a great way to start the tournament. And unfortunate for us and the captain that the second half did not go our way. But, yeah it was a great learning and I am sure it was a great experience for him as a captain. Handling a young team is never easy, but, I think he did a great job. He’s given a lot of feedback to the players, what he thinks about where they can improve so these boys will definitely come back stronger, and his leadership would have helped a lot of players, a lot of bowlers, especially!

Do you have any message to the fans of KXIP?

It was really nice to be a part of the Kings XI Punjab. I have always loved Punjabi people because of the way they live their lives to the fullest. They are always happy, singing and dancing, and they are very warm people. The fans came in big numbers this year in the three games we played in Mohali. They supported us, and that helped us win. We only want to get better and better and keep entertaining our crowd.

Just want to tell them that this is a different team, just to forget about the 10 years that have happened before and forget about this year. We will take the good memories, but we will come back stronger and keep entertaining them. I can promise that the trophy isn’t too far away for King XI. The team is looking great and I am feeling confident. We will make sure that the crowd gets what they want.

Any Punjabi phrase you ended up learning?

Yeah, I did learn! I asked my friend how to say something and she taught me, she said, “Apaa chalange party karne.”

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