A little over six months after he tore a tendon in his thigh during the IPL, KL Rahul has called his return to Lucknow “bittersweet” ahead of India’s World Cup matchup against England on Sunday.
In an early May loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rahul, the captain of the Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League, pulled up while chasing a ball to the boundary. “My tendon ripped apart from my quadriceps,” he said last month. He was out of the game for four months, missing the World Test Championship final, the remainder of the IPL, and a Caribbean tour.
“I entered the ground today and I had to do some running,” Rahul said to BCCI.tv following India’s Friday afternoon training session. “My heart is pounding, I told my trainer, Rajini sir [Rajinikanth Sivagnanam], because I didn’t have the best experience or career moment the last time I was here. It had a bittersweet quality.
Clearly, that injury had a significant effect on both my job and me. It wasn’t a particularly joyful time for my family and me. In the brief period that I have played for India, I have already sustained numerous injuries. Any athlete knows that being hurt frequently is not a good feeling, and having surgery or going under the knife is both extremely painful and enlightening.”
Rahul claimed that the pain is both psychological and physical. The hardest thing is going through the rehabilitation process afterward, trying to get stronger and more fit, and persuading yourself that it won’t happen again. It’s quite difficult mentally. It was plainly frustrating when it occurred. I was furious about what had transpired and began to wonder why and other related questions.
“But I started seeing the best in what happened much later when I was in Bangalore, and realised that it came at a time when I really needed that break away from the game, because there was a lot going on with me mentally – and, for the first time in my career, I felt like I had no answers.”
“It was obviously frustrating when it happened. I was furious about what had transpired and began to wonder why and other related questions. However, it wasn’t until much later, in Bangalore, that I began to see the bright side of things. I was in dire need of a mental vacation from the game at this point.
Rahul sees the match on Sunday as a chance to put his memories of Ekana Stadium and his injury in the past. “Obviously, I’m very happy to be back here in Lucknow and to change those memories and to make some new ones and some happy ones,” he stated. “Obviously we play a very strong England team – they’re the champion team, the defending champions – so, looking forward to Sunday.”
After seeing the support of LSG’s supporters for the first time during the 2023 Indian Premier League, he declared the stadium to be “very close to my heart”. “The turnout we saw from the crowd, the love, the support that we got in the last year was unreal,” Rahul stated. “It’s the first time I really got to experience the Lucknow crowd or the support from the whole of UP [Uttar Pradesh] in full flow.”