India batsman KL Rahul has admitted he was "anxious" that a lack of training during lockdown would have a negative impact on his performance once cricket returned.
Speaking before he flew out to the UAE for the Indian Premier League, Rahul spoke about how the break had been somewhat of a double-edged sword for him, affording him time to rest and recuperate, but also causing anxiety over whether he could keep his skills sharp for when lockdown ended.
"I did get anxious sitting at home," Rahul told the Indian Express. "My fear was that I would get lazy, so I trained at home during the day. I made a plan for a day and tried to stick to it. But initially, I didn’t bother as I felt I deserved to be lazy and that I can wake up at whatever time I want to. Even if I didn’t train, it was acceptable for me because my body needed that break after years."
The opening batsman also admitted to suffering sleepless nights as his mind raced with possibilities of losing his ability to bat through the prolonged break.
"Once or twice I did have sleepless nights thinking 'What if once I get back to playing cricket, I am not the same player?' That was a bit scary but luckily in Bengaluru, we got a few practice sessions and that made me feel good.
"Couple of nights, I had nightmares. I woke up with the feeling, ‘What if I can’t pick line and length of the ball? What if I become slower? What if I don’t have the same cover drive as before?’ All these question marks were there. And the first session didn’t help: all those fears came true. I batted so badly in that session it was scary. But after three sessions, I started to feel better and it made me happy."
KL Rahul has been ecstatic to get back out on a cricket field 🙌 pic.twitter.com/cdYuMTEGJV— ICC (@ICC) August 20, 2020
Rahul has on occasion been required to take the gloves for India, as well as there being some question over how the side can fit all of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Rahul into a strong batting line-up, with all three preferring to open the innings. But Rahul has enjoyed taking on the demands of whatever role India have given him.
"I enjoyed whatever challenge was thrown at me for the last seven-eight months. Be it playing a different role or to bat at any position. Whatever the team needs me to do, I will do it."
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