KL Rahul’s reaction to Gavaskar’s praise. KL Rahul’s reaction to Sunil Gavaskar’s praise is the most wholesome moment from the second day’s post-match press conference.

Earning praise from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar remains the ultimate dream for every cricketer, and on Wednesday it was KL Rahul’s turn to tick it off his bucket list. Sure enough, this wasn’t the first time Rahul received a compliment from the former India captain, but the magnitude of Gavaskar’s praise will sure make it special. Rahul scored his 8th Test century – arguably the greatest of his career – as his knock of 101 propelled India to 245 against South Africa at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.

On a pitch that wasn’t easy to bat on and one that was slowly losing pace, Rahul showed immense grit in batting with the tail and added 56 runs with Mohammed Siraj and Prasidh Krishna for the last two wickets.

As expected, Rahul was showered with praises, but Gavaskar’s took the cake. After stumps, during the post-day press conference, Rahul asked about his reaction to this once-in-a-lifetime compliment by Sunny G. The reporter asked “As Mr. Gavaskar said this is probably one of 10 best Test hundreds by any batter in any conditions for India…”. But before he could finish his sentence, an excited let out an exclamatory “WOW” before elaborating his point of view.

“That’s what I try to do walk in with a very free and empty mindset. When I’m batting and see what the game demands of me and try and do my best. Yesterday and today the situation was quite clear: I am batting with the tail and need to take my chances. I tried to score as many runs as possible so I’m pretty happy.”

KL Rahul's reaction to Gavaskar's praise
KL Rahul’s reaction to Gavaskar’s praise

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Rahul on whether outside noise affected him (KL Rahul’s reaction to Gavaskar’s praise):

Rahul’s century could be a turning point in his Test career. 2023 wasn’t the greatest of year for him – at least the first half certainly wasn’t. After a forgettable Border-Gavaskar trophy against Australia, Rahul was dropped from the team and stripped of vice-captaincy. Besides, a thigh injury sustained during the IPL kept him out of action for a decent chunk of time. However, upon his return, Rahul found his true calling while batting for India at No. 5 in ODIs. After a successful Asia Cup and World Cup, the management went with Rahul in a similar direction in Tests as well. And the result is a century in his very first innings batting at No. 5.

In the trailer of a Star Sports special featuring Rahul, the Indian batter discusses a tough time in his career and how he targets for his batting failures. Weighing in on the same, Rahul explained his mental toughness and what it takes to distance himself away from the negativity engulfing the internet.

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“When the injury happened and I was away from the game for a long time, I worked on myself and tried to go back to the person that I am. I realized that I couldn’t be affected by these things and change myself. Rather I shouldn’t change myself. It’s difficult to remain yourself, and remain true to your personality when there’s so much happening; it’s the hardest thing. But like anything else in cricket and life, there are ways to work on it, there are people who can help you if your mind is open. So when I was out of the game, I worked on myself and worked on remaining calmer and taking care of what’s happening inside my head,” he pointed out.

“There’s no point expressing myself on social media. People who want to say things will still say it. What I have realized is that in sports, if you are in the public eye, your performance is the only way you can stay away from negative comments. What I try to do is focus on my game and performance. The farther you stay from these things, the better.”

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