KL Rahul will be playing his first ODI series © AFP
KL Rahul will be playing his first ODI series in Zimbabwe © AFP

KL Rahul‘s road to the Indian ODI team has been an interesting one. Cricketers mostly make it to the shorter format of the game earlier than the Test format, but Rahul’s progression has been different. After an impressive season in IPL 2016 for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), scoring 397 runs in 14 matches for hi side at a strike rate of 146.49, he has found a place in the Indian team squad for the tour to Zimbabwe. Although, Rahul made his mark with the bat in the IPL, his performance behind the stumps as wicketkeeper was ordinary. With MS Dhoni leading the side in Zimbabwe, Rahul will have a lot to learn, he feels, to improve his wicketkeeping skills. ALSO READ: KL Rahul: Playing IPL along side Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers helping me

After RCB couldn’t finish with the IPL trophy, losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final after a superb season, Rahul felt that he had a lot to learn and improve upon. Speaking to reporters he said – “I have enjoyed whatever little I could do for RCB. I have always enjoyed ‘keeping. I guess I will have to work a lot harder. It wasn’t as easy I had thought it to be. It’s a different role, a different challenge that I had not done in a while. Getting some time with MS (Dhoni) in Zimbabwe, my plan is to work with him on my wicket-keeping skills and to see what feedback he has for me.” ALSO READ: MS Dhoni: India’s challenge in Zimbabwe will be batting-order

Dhoni, who is known for his reflexes behind the stumps will be captaining a young Indian side, of which many players will be making their debut in the first match. Rahul though is not only a part of the ODI side as an opener, but also the Test side for West Indies. Meanwhile, Dhoni also emphasized on the importance of winning the toss in Zimbabwe as the new ball moves a lot early in the morning.

But talking about the tough conditions  Rahul said – “Not going to worry about Test matches going to Zimbabwe. This is going to be my first One-day series with the Indian team so I will be looking to focus on doing well there and trying to figure out how I could be successful in Zimbabwe as well. Honestly, I don’t know how the wickets are going to behave in Zimbabwe till we are there. We have a couple of days before the first ODI and I will try to go out and assess the conditions, read the wicket and speak to people who have gone there earlier than me. It will be challenging opening there but it’s a responsibility that I have always enjoyed, to go out there and give a solid start to my team.”

With the T20 season almost wrapped up, India will now look forward to as many as 16 Test matches in the near future and Rahul seemed excited about the prospect. “16 Test matches looks very exciting and a great challenge for all of us. We have played a lot of One-day and T20 cricket in the past couple of years. The next 7-8 months is filled with Test matches and it will be great fun. We will be playing a lot of Tests at home too so as a batsman I will have to work upon playing more spin bowling,” he said.