New Delhi [India], Sept.14 :Describing Virat Kohli as an `inspiration` both on and off the field, Indian opening batsman KL Rahul has admitted that the Test skipper has played a major role in shaping his cricket career and boosting his confidence.
Rahul notched up a total of 397 runs, including 16 sixes, in 14 matches he played in this season's Indian Premier League for Kohli's team, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
His impressive IPL performance also saw him earn a call up to the ODI and T20 squads. Rahul took full advantage of it as he went on to smash a century in Zimbabwe on his ODI debut before showcasing a spectacular performance against West Indies in T20 in Florida.
"The level of commitment that he (Kohli) has shown, the discipline and work ethics, the way he has been so disciplined with his fitness, nutrition and diet, that is something that has inspired all of us.
If you come into the dressing room now you see how all the boys are so disciplined. He's helped me in shaping my career. When I came into Test cricket, I was good but not as good as I am now. Virat has helped me with my preparation, mindset and he has given me a lot of confidence," Rahul was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
The 24-year-old also admitted that this year's IPL season was the `key moment` for him to start believing in his abilities as a short-format batsman.
"Once people saw it, they started believing it too. I think it is very important when your own team-mates start believing that you have the game. I always knew I could play the shorter format but it was about putting a few performances there. A couple of good innings and I knew I will start believing a lot more in myself, so yes it worked out well for me this summer," said Rahul, who now become one of only three Indians, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma being the other two, to have scored an international century in all the formats of the game.
Besides the shorter formats of the game, Rahul also turned out to be impressive in Test cricket. He replaced Murali Vijay, who injured his thumb, in the second Test of the recently-concluded series against West Indies and went on to struck 158 and a brisk half century in the first and the third Test respectively.
Rahul is likely to be India's first-choice opener when they host New Zealand in the three-match Test series, starting on September 22 in Kanpur.