Rahul to use A-side to get back to Tests


India batsman Lokesh, or KL, Rahul is aiming to use the A-team's series against Australia A in the coming weeks to break back into the senior side, saying he has been working hard behind the scenes to achieve that.

Rahul has played two Tests, both in Australia earlier this year, and scored a century in one of them. He then fell ill before the tour to Bangladesh, which Shikhar Dhawan took advantage of to score a century and steal the limelight.

But Rahul hopes the two matches against the Aussie second string in Chennai will work in his favour, especially as he last played cricket in the IPL, and red ball cricket well before that.

Rahul said: "It was very disappointing to miss out on a Test match, especially when you've just started playing Test cricket. But things like this happen. I'm just looking forward to playing these matches.
"I haven't been playing a lot of cricket; the last time I played days [first-class] cricket was the Ranji Trophy final. So it's been a while since I've played days cricket so it will be an ideal opportunity.

"The conditions here are tough and it's going to test my fitness. I've been working hard in Bangalore, training with the NCA trainers. So I'm looking forward to this opportunity to get back and scoring runs to the team."

Rahul was happy to be part of the A-side though, coached by Rahul Dravid, and said that while the cricketing aspect wasn't too different, the mental side of things was much tougher in the senior side. He looked forward to working on that part of his game.

He added: "The gap is mostly the mental aspect. The pressure and the things you go through mentally and emotionally. Physically, when it comes to playing cricket, there isn't a big difference.

"I mean when you go abroad you have to play different on different wickets. But that's the challenge as a cricketer.

"When we toured Australia last year in mid-June, that was my first India A tour, and you get a fair idea of the kind of conditions and the kind of pressure you'll have to face when you play international cricket, when you're playing against the best XI from a different country.

"So the competition is very high. The pressures are different from what we face in India in Ranji Trophy. It just builds the character of a player and gets him fairly ready for international cricket."