Aug 18, 2022, 11:15 IST

'Jo naam aap ne liye…i can't think of competing with them in my wild dreams!!


K L Rahul, who returns to the Indian team for the Zimbabwe ODIs after an injury layoff and a battle with Covid-19, will captain the team in the three ODIs in Harare.

Indian cricket captain Kannaur Lokesh Rahul addresses media during a press conference at Harare Sports Club ahead of their One-Day International cricket matches against Zimbabwe in Harare(AP)

For someone who has played a lot of cricket under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma, it was natural that the stylish right-hander was asked whether he wanted to follow, to which Rahul responded brilliantly. Originality is essential, and Rahul believes that in his brief term as leader, he has strived to be himself while allowing others on the team to be themselves.

"I can't go out there and be someone else. Then I won't be fair to myself, to the team, or to the game. I try and be myself and let the other players be themselves as they want," Rahul said in a press conference ahead of the series opener when asked if he had tried to follow the footsteps of the great MS Dhoni.

"Jo naam aapne lie (the names that you've taken) I can't even compare myself with these guys (MSD), their numbers and achievement are far greater in terms of what they have done for the country, and I don't think any name could be taken in the same breath," he reminded everyone.

"... And this is my second series as captain, and obviously, I have played under him and learnt a lot from him as player. As you have been playing for so many years, you will pick some good qualities from these guys," he said.

He has led India in three ODIs and a Test match and India have lost all of them. He would be looking to change that and tell the selectors that he is a viable option to take over the mantle after regular captain Rohit Sharma's tenure gets over. Rahul also shared his thoughts on the importance to manage the workload of the players.

"Myself, Kuldeep and Deepak (Chahar), we were all at NCA (for rehab) and were all preparing for this series.

"So, I know they have prepared well and they know what they need to do. For me, it's about managing them and giving them that confidence, allow them to express themselves, and have that freedom to do what they want to do," the skipper said.

"It will be (challenging) for any leader as to how good you are in managing your players and bringing the best out of them.

"Everybody is in a different place in their careers, and few of us have come back from injuries, few have played a lot of cricket and how do you manage their bodies and how do you manage mindset and nervousness of guys who are coming after a long break, and those are challenges as a leader," he accepted the issues that could be tricky.

Just like Kuldeep and Chahar are making comebacks, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Mohammed Siraj have been part of ODI set-up for the last six months.

"Avesh, Siraj and Prasidh have been playing continuously since the start of IPL. It is about little bit of managing their bodies and little bit of strategies and sit and speak with them," said Rahul while stressing that his job will be to marry the individual goals and plans with the collective team strategy.