Rahul, who was signed by Indian T20 League franchise, Punjab in the 2018 Auction, feels that he has come out of the shadow of Bangalore stars, Virat Kohli and Ab de Villiers. @ Kings XI Punjab

KL Rahul’s New Year took an ugly turn after his appearance on a popular reality TV show along with team-mate Hardik Pandya received widespread criticism after the duo passed sexist comments against women. Rahul and Pandya were suspended by the BCCI and they had to return home midway through the Australia series before the start of the ODIs.

“The last two months have been very, very tough for me. When it happened, I had started to doubt myself as a person,” Rahul told India Today on Wednesday. (ALSO READ: Chris Gayle is most mischievous in dressing room: Punjab’s KL Rahul)

“I was hated nationally, and it was not easy. I always thought I was a good person and then I started to believe otherwise. I couldn’t come out of home for I was not ready. Only played play station and all. I have become calmer and more mature as a result. It has taught me a lot and maybe, I have emerged stronger also,” he said.

Rahul, who was signed by Indian T20 League franchise, Punjab in the 2018 Auction, feels that he has come out of the shadow of Bangalore stars, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

“2018 was magical for me as far as IPL is concerned. With a really good and balanced team, this year also should be good. At RCB I was under the shadow of Virat and AB de Villiers and here I am the number one and that has helped,” he said. (ALSO READ: Revealed: The Brendon McCullum stamp on KL Rahul’s cricket graph)

Meanwhile, Rahul also played a part in Punjab’s ‘controversial’ win against Rajasthan at Jaipur on Monday albeit with the bat. He caught a blinder that saw the back of Steve Smith which changed the complexion of the match.

Rahul caught a blinder that saw the back of Steve Smith which changed the complexion of the match. @ BCCI

Rahul said that his celebration was ridiculed, but he couldn’t think of doing anything at that time. “Celebration, I just got stuck, I didn’t know what to do. Friends are making fun of me that what were you thinking, you’re Shah Rukh Khan or something?” he said.

“Since Virat’s become the captain, he has stressed a lot on fitness and fielding. Lot of credit to how we field as the new Indian cricket team and we work really hard in the gym and nutrition and pay a lot of attention to that. For somebody like me who doesn’t bowl, it’s important to contribute in the field and I’ve worked hard on that, slip catching.” (ALSO READ: KL Rahul shouldn’t let WC thoughts trap him: KXIP coach)

Rahul also said he was just trying to enjoy the T20 League and it not thinking too much about a spot in the ICC World Cup 2019 squad.

“Worrying about it and thinking about it is not going to help me play, there’s already so much pressure. So, I am just looking to enjoying the IPL,” he said.