London: KL Rahul batted with an uncluttered mind and perhaps was at his best while executing the plans to perfection during his superb hundred, feels opening partner Rohit Sharma.
Rohit himself scored an attractive 83 and added 126 for the opening stand with Rahul, who ended the first day of the second Test unbeaten on 127.
“It was probably the best I have seen KL bat and he was in control from ball one till we finished the day today. Very much in control,” Rohit said after the day’s play on Thursday.
“At no given point, it looked like he was confused or thinking too much. He was very clear with his plans and when you trust your plans, it definitely works. I thought today was his day and he made it really count,” the senior player said.
Rohit’s own innings laid the foundation and he seemed happy that both him and Rahul were able to control their minds while facing the new ball and cut down the risky shots.
“That’s the challenge of Test cricket. You may have lot of shots in your book but when you know that conditions are against you, you have to keep talking to yourself and you have to cut down the shots that are unnecessary specially with the new ball,” Rohit explained.
“Once you play and get the feel of the pitch and conditions, then may be you can try and play some shots. We respect the conditions here and it’s also important to go out and implement plans. That is something us as a batting group have done reasonably well — right from Australia tour to today.”
He feels that batsmen now understand their roles better.
“Our batters now understand their role which is the most important thing and I think they are playing by their roles.”
When asked what kind of discussions he had with Rahul as they opened in England for the first time, the answer was a signature Rohit.
“Honestly, there was no discussion as KL was not supposed to play the first game and Mayank (Agarwal) was supposed to play that game.
“Unfortunately, he (Mayank) got hit on his head and he missed out due to concussion and then only KL stepped in. Once we went out to bat, we were discussing about what we need to do and things like that. Yes, first time I have played with KL in Test cricket but I have batted with him a number of times.”
Battling testing conditions can feel very lonely and if the batting partner is communicative, it makes the job a lot easier.
“We know each others games and we understand each others’ games. And it’s important to keep talking in the middle. It can be very lonely out there, if you are not communicating and I feel it’s nice to have a partner who is willing to communicate and take the game forward.
“KL and myself — our mindsets are pretty similar and we want to take the game forward.”
While he doesn’t consider his innings as the best he has batted overseas, he does feel that it was the most challenging one.
“I wouldn’t say the best innings because as long as you play you will have lot of opportunities but certainly the most challenging one. I felt very good, really happy with the way we started off and unfortunate dismissal bit we couldn’t have done anything about it,” concluded Rohit.