Indian cricket players are expected to be seen playing after a five-month-long gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Indian batsman and IPL team Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul who was finally able to walk on a cricket ground after self-isolation all these months, was in tears of joy.
The cricketer told The Times of India that he was feeling like he is walking on a cloud after running on concrete and treadmill for months.
Elaborating on the lessons he learnt during the COVID-19 lockdown, KL Rahul said it taught him to be grateful for many things, including staying healthy and having meals on the table.
He also said that he has learnt to be more patient and is grateful that he got to spend quality time with his family.
Speaking about the challenges he will face as a leader, the Kings XI Punjab captain said that as a leader one has to be mindful that a lot of players will be rusty and nervous as they are restarting the game with a major tournament without a lot of action in recent months.
"It's important for a leader to make the players feel comfortable and let them know that it's okay to feel like that initially. That said, it will be a good learning experience for each one of us because we have a great set of coaches and support staff," he added.
Speaking about how he derives inspiration from KXIP coach Anil Kumble, Rahul said that Kumble's experience would help him fit into the role of skipper for the IPL team. He said he looks up to Kumble who led the Indian cricket team and has a wealth of experience.
KL Rahul who has been associated with KXIP will for the first time lead the team in the IPL 2020 that is scheduled to begin on 19 September in the UAE. The batsman holds the fastest fifty in the league and has been among the tournament's top three batsmen in the last two seasons.
An ESPNCricinfo report mentioned KL Rahul naming former Indian skipper MS Dhoni as his role model as a captain. Rahul said that he is grateful that he got the honour to play under the leadership of Dhoni.
The batsman added that even Rohit Sharma is quite a good captain and said Virat Kohli is a "phenomenal" skipper.
Rahul said that he has learned a lot from all the captains he has played with and that he will hopefully, be using all of the knowledge when he leads the IPL team next month.
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KKR will now meet Delhi Capitals in the second Qualifier on Wednesday to decide Chennai Super Kings' rivals for the title clash on 15 October.
Lee believes the Men in Blue, who won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, are strong contenders to win the tournament that starts on Sunday. India will open their campaign on 24 October against Pakistan.
Harshal stressed that Kohli, who has decided to step down as India T20 captain after the upcoming World Cup and RCB skipper post the ongoing IPL, remains a "leader".