KL Rahul © AFP
KL Rahul © AFP

KL Rahul was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2013 as a wicketkeeper-batsman. He was then picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2014 for INR 1 crore. In 2016, he was back in the RCB camp and came into prominence that season. He ended up with 397 runs from 14 matches at 44.11 and strike rate of 146.49. Since, he has been an integral part of the RCB squad. However, injury saw him sit out of the 2017 edition of IPL.

This time around, Rahul is set to go all the way to the north. He was the second most expensive Indian player in this edition of IPL after Jaydev Unadkat. Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bought him for INR 11 crores. Apart from batting, Rahul might also be seen in an additional role – wicketkeeper. Rahul, nevertheless, is excited for the new journey.

In a chat with Cricket Next, Rahul spoke in length about his new innings with KXIP, on special training with wicketkeeping role in place and his state, Karnataka, winning the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

On new innings with KXIP: “You are always excited to start any new journey in life and this is one such thing. Yes, I have learnt a lot from RCB and other franchises like SRH. Every franchise that you play for, you learn a lot about yourself and also learn from the teammates and the support staff. This will be a new experience and I am looking forward to it. Like I said, the way I play the game doesn’t change. It will just be more responsibility on me and I love being that person that the team looks up to when it comes to winning games and also really looking forward to a couple of months in Punjab.”

On adapting to new challenges for KXIP: “I am not used to keeping wickets for a long time. It’s been the IPL and a few matches here and there for my state. Physically, I have changed the way I train as I have to keep day-in and day-out for a long time as it takes a lot out of my body. I am looking to get stronger and hopefully keep away from injuries.”

On winning the Vijay Hazare Trophy: “The team did really well right through the season and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t add more trophies to the cabinet this season. But I have been keeping a track even from South Africa and it is always exciting to play with the boys that I have played all my growing up years with.”