KL Rahul had moments when he worried he would forget the basics of batting during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. Thoughts of forgetting how to "pick the line and length of the ball" kept him awake at night at times, the India and Kings XI Punjab batsman has said, and his first batting session back was "so bad it was scary".
He found his rhythm in the next few practice sessions, though, which helped him overcome those fears. "Couple of nights, I had nightmares," Rahul said in an interview with the Indian Express. "I woke up with the feeling, 'Oh s**t, what if I can't pick line and length of the ball? What if I become slower? What if I don't have the same cover drive as before?' All these question marks were there. And the first [practice] session didn't help: all those fears came true. I batted so badly in that session it was scary.
"Once or twice I did have sleepless nights thinking what if once I get back to playing cricket, I am not the same player. That was a bit scary but luckily, in Bengaluru, we got a few practice sessions and that made me feel good."
Before dealing with his fears in the nets, Rahul had to keep laziness at bay at home. In order to keep himself fit during the lockdown, he made a schedule but found it hard to follow initially.
"I did get anxious sitting at home," he said. "My fear was that I would get lazy, so I trained at home during the day. I made a plan for a day and tried to stick to it. But initially, I didn't bother as I felt I deserved to be lazy and that I can wake up at whatever time I want to. Even if I didn't train, it was acceptable for me because my body needed that break after years.
"Later on, though, I told myself I needed to plan my day, be it doing household work or getting up at a particular time. Most days, I stuck to my plan. I didn't want to waste my time watching TV. I cooked, walked my dog and designed clothes for my brand."
Rahul, who will be captaining the Kings XI in IPL 2020, last played a competitive match almost six months ago, when he appeared for Karnataka against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy semi-final in Kolkata. On Thursday, along with team-mates he travelled to the UAE, where the players will be undergoing a mandatory six-day quarantine period before starting practice. The IPL starts from September 19 with the final to be played on November 10.