Following a months-long absence due to a thigh injury incurred during the IPL in May, Rahul made his comeback during the Asia Cup last month. Impressively, he emerged as the team’s third-highest run-scorer in the tournament, dispelling doubts about his form and fitness.”There was a lot of criticism, people were commenting on my performance in every match and situation.I wasn’t able to understand why it was happening, because my performance wasn’t that bad. So, that was very painful.” Rahul told ‘Star Sports’.
Despite missing the first two games of the Asia Cup due to a minor injury concern, Rahul showcased his prowess by amassing a total of 169 runs in three innings. He did so with an impressive average of 84.50 and a strike rate of 89.41, even notching up a century during his remarkable performances.
“I know the pain of going through an injury and the process of coming back initially, and then, I had an injury during the IPL, and when I found out I’ll be losing four-five months, being a part of the World Cup was also not a 100% sure. So, that was a very difficult time.”
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The 31-year-old displayed his free-flowing form during India’s World Cup opener against Australia, where he played an unbeaten knock of 97, taking his side to six-wicket win from a crunch situation.
Speaking on how he shaped his mind ahead of his return, especially with the World Cup in mind, he revealed that the dream of playing the competition at home kept him going.
“I already knew in my mind and understood the process. I was very positive as well, and there was only one motivation that I had to come back before the World Cup, and I have to be a part of this home World Cup,” he added.
“We were preparing for a lot of time keeping this in mind, and every morning, I have been waking up thinking we need to win the World Cup, and that has been my only motivation.”
“Every day in the morning that’s what got me out of bed and pushed me to do the boring work in the gym, and that tells you how special it is to me and everybody.”
“Playing a home world cup is a dream for a cricketer and is special to all cricketers, so yeah, I’m pretty excited,” he concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)