KL Rahul, a star batter for Team India, has struggled with inconsistent performances over the last few months. After a poor T20 World Cup last year, he lost his place in the shortest format of the game, although he did lead the side in the Test series against Bangladesh in December 2022. However, Rahul lost his vice-captaincy in the squad and was further sidelined in the final two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year. KL Rahul (Getty)
Due to a hamstring injury during the 2023 Indian Premier League, where he leads the Lucknow Super Giants, Rahul is now ruled out of the World Test Championship final against Australia.
Rahul has faced immense backlash on social media, with fans and even select former cricketers criticizing him and calling for him to be dropped from the squad. The batter finally broke his silence on the criticism and hate he received on social media during a podcast with YouTuber Ranveer Allahbadia, commonly known as ‘BeerBiceps’ on the internet.
While Rahul started by thanking those who supported him during his rough patch, he also talked about the impact of online hate and how it can negatively affect a sportsperson.
“I’m very grateful. I know the last few months haven’t been great for me on the field, and the kind of support I’ve gotten tells that I’ve done something right in my life. Not just as a cricketer, but also as a person. It feels close to my heart; that’s when you know that you had a good impact on people,” Rahul began.
“It’s so easy in modern day to… when you see negative comments, when you see someone is down. A few people pick on it, and all of them just want to jump on the train and make that person worse than they’re already feeling.
“That sometimes affects me and affects a lot of the other boys as well. When some people feel like they have the power to say anything they want, they don’t see what the person is going through. None of us want to perform badly. This is our life; this is what we all do. I don’t know anything else apart from cricket. Why would anyone think I’m not serious about my game, and I’m not working hard enough?” Rahul said.
Then, Rahul admitted that he used to focus on what fans thought of him earlier, but that has changed now.
“In sport, there’s no connection. I worked hard but the results didn’t go my way, but sometimes, I didn’t work as hard as I probably would but got the results. Sports has no formula; things happen for you.
“There are people who support the players, but I personally try to stay away from both (good and bad comments). You have to. Sometimes, you do want to listen to people say positive things, but you realize if you get sucked into that, you also have to be ready to face the other side. You’ve to choose what you want to do. If you’re a person who doesn’t get affected by all that, sure, you can do that. For a long time, it didn’t affect me. I was like, ‘I don’t care. I will prove these guys wrong.’ But later on, I realized it does affect me; I just tried to hide it,” said Rahul.