Says he comfortable with opening the innings
'I know how I have to work on my game. Whatever position I get I have to make best use of it. It is disheartening and frustrating at times. But given the competition, nobody is a sure-shot'
Opener K L Rahul finds it "frustrating" that he has played only 13 One-Day Internationals since making his India debut in 2016 but concedes that he cannot afford to sulk given the competition for places in the team.
"I know how I have to work on my game. Whatever position I get I have to make best use of it. It is disheartening and frustrating at times. But given the competition, nobody is a sure-shot," Rahul told reporters after the tie against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup on Tuesday
Rahul scored 60 coming in as an opener.
"So you have to wait your turn. You have to be patient and work hard. Whenever I am not playing, it's easy for me to sit and sulk ‘why am I not playing’. But I use that time to improve my fitness and game," he said.
Rahul's ODI career might be just 13-match old but he has already batted in four different positions, turning up most time (7) in the opening slot. Rahul said being in the top order is his position of comfort.
"It has been challenging to bat at different positions. I have always batted at the top of the order from junior cricket and that is the most comfortable position for me," he said.
"But in a team sport you need to be flexible and whatever the responsibility the team gives you need to put your hand up and do the best job you can. Unfortunately the chances I have got in the middle order haven't gone my way," he added.
Reflecting on his performance, the 26-year-old said he likes to play his strokes but is also learning to pace his innings.
"I can't really think about how many opportunities I get. Whatever chances I get I need to back my natural game. Coming in and out of the team, you don't find your rhythm as soon as you walk in. Today I took my time in the middle," he explained.
"I tried to go hard initially but I felt I wasn't middling the ball too well. That's when I told myself to face a few balls, play couple of overs, read the pace of the wicket. Get used to being in the middle again," he added.
India, who rested five key players on Tuesday, were stopped at 252 all out in a chase of 253 by the resolute Afghans. Rahul said it wasn't easy batting second and lauded the Afghan bowlers for their determination.
"We were playing on different wicket. Last two games were on the other side and the ball seemed to come on to the bat a lot better. Also I don't want to take anything away from the Afghanistan bowers.
"They are a quality spin attack. A lot of credit should go to their bowlers and how not how the wicket behaved. We will have to see what kind of wicket we play on in the final," he said.
Rahul also regretted exhausting the review that could have saved the wickets of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik.
Both Dhoni and Karthik were given out LBW in calls that would have been overturned under the Decision Review System (DRS) but India could not appeal as opener Rahul (60) had used up the only review unsuccessfully.
"Obviously, looking back at it, I felt like I shouldn't have taken the review but at that time, in the middle, I felt like maybe I was struck outside and I wanted to take that chance."
"Sometimes you can sit back here and review the review you took and say maybe you could have left it to the guys at the end but I felt like I could have been struck outside so I took that chance.
Rahul said he would be more cautious in future situations. India are already through to the tournament final, which is scheduled for Friday.
"We learn with it. The shot I played, the review that I took, I'll have to go back and maybe if it happens again I'll be in a better position to know what to do," he said.
India were cruising along at 204/4 before a collapse changed the face of the match dramatically but Rahul rejected suggestions that the middle-order has become a cause of concern for the team.
"I don't think (middle order) crumbled. Wicket was getting harder to bat. When the ball starts slowing up and spinning like that, it's hard for middle order batsmen to come and get runs. I think DK played well with Kedar," he said.
"As opening batsmen when we start like that we back ourselves to finish the game and not to get middle order guys to struggle. I don't think it's a concern.
"For any middle order batsman, it is difficult to score. You don't know how many balls you can take. You don't know how fast is too fast, how slow is too slow. They will learn from their mistakes and they will know how to pace their innings," he added.