Indian opening batsman KL Rahul admitted that it was frustrating to sit out of the Test matches but was happy to be playing the long format after a long gap. Rahul has been a regular feature in India's limited-overs set-up but has not played Tests since the tour of West Indies in 2019.
"From the last 2-3 series (away vs Australia and vs England in India), I have been sitting outside. The team was doing really well and I was very happy to be part of the team and seeing how we were beating teams in India and then Australia," he said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
With openers Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill sidelined due to a hamstring injury and concussion, Rahul was picked for the first Test against England. The Karnataka batsman struck a vital 84 in the first innings and 24 in the second innings of the drawn Test at Trent Bridge.
"So it was great to be part of it, but also very frustrating that opportunities weren't coming. It was only practise, practise and practise and as a player you want to be in the middle and want to challenge yourself, so I kept waiting for my opportunity, so I am very happy that it came in England," he added.
Rahul's contribution was key as India posted 278 in the first innings to take a 95-run lead while Jasprit Bumrah's 5-64 helped the visitors dismiss England for 303 in the second innings. With a target of 209, India ended the fourth day on 52/1 before the final day of the Test was washed out.
When asked what he felt about Bumrah coming back to form, Rahul replied, "Sir, I don't know why you are saying that (Jasprit) Bumrah has made a comeback. Every time, in every game, in every condition he has proved himself and he is our number one bowler. We are happy that he is doing what he is (has) been doing since he started playing Test cricket. Wherever he has played, he has been a match-winner for us."
Rahul also hailed the pace quartet of Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur for excelling in overcast conditions.
"Our pace bowling attack is the main reasons why we qualified for the WTC finals. Great to see that each time we go out there, we stick to what we have discussed and more often than not we have got results for being patient and disciplined," he said.