Colombo, Sept 10: Overcoming the mental barrier was the biggest challenge India wicketkeeper KL Rahul faced while rehabilitating after suffering a serious quadricep injury that laid him low for nearly four months. Rahul had suffered the debilitating injury during the IPL, which later necessitated surgery in London.
The 31-year-old underwent rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to get fit for the Asia Cup. But a “niggle” resulted in him missing the first two group matches of the tournament in Sri Lanka.
However, he was assessed again on September 4 and cleared to join Team India in Kandy for the continental tournament. He also figures in the provisional squad for the World Cup in India.
“A lot of times, it’s also like you fight a big mental battle where you’re always thinking at the back of your head that, okay, I might feel pain. And when you are in that mindset, you can’t really start focusing on skills,” said Rahul in a video posted by BCCI on Sunday.
“So, the biggest challenge was to get rid of that fear and get rid of that pain aspect of things.” He added that wicket-keeping requires a lot of strength in the quads and the biggest “question mark” in his mind while rehabilitating was how he would convince himself to don the role again after such a big surgery.
“The big thing was to feel confident in my own body and be pain free in movements that require a lot of intensity. Especially, I knew coming back, I’ll have to keep wicket as well.
“And that was one of the big concerns for physios and me, a big question mark in my head that the biggest challenge for me coming back will be wicket-keeping because of the quadricep injury.
“When you are wicket-keeping, squatting down every ball, you require a lot of strength in your quads and you need it to support you. You need your body to support you and be pain free.” Rahul expressed his gratitude towards the physios who guided him through the tough phase.
“And once you get through that (pain free), and that can only happen when you take things step by step. And, like I said, I was in the hands of some really good physios and trainer at the NCA. So, they really guided me and they knew when to push me, when to step back.”
The cricketer added that it was quite a simple chase that resulted in the injury, and that he initially felt it would get better in a couple of weeks.
“I just tried to chase the ball and my tendon snap. I had a full-fledged tear, my tendon ripped apart from my quadriceps. So, when it happened, obviously me, my family, the franchise, the team, everybody had their fingers crossed hoping that wasn’t a big tear… it was a small strain or I could get better in a couple of weeks. (PTI)