Rahul admits to doubts on return from injury

Indian opener posts half-century in Colombo in his first match since shoulder injury

Opener KL Rahul appears on track for an instant return to India's Test side, but the 25-year-old concedes he still has some mental obstacles to overcome following a four-month absence from the game.

Rahul added a 58-ball 54 on Friday in India's warm-up match in Colombo ahead of their Test series against Sri Lanka, the right-hander's first game since the fourth Test against Australia in March.

Having been on the sidelines since that Test series due to a shoulder injury, Rahul conceded he was a little tentative on his return to serious cricket.

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"Yes, I am (nervous)," he said. "The body is still very unsure and it keeps holding me back every time. That's the biggest challenge coming back from injury.

"You know that you are physically fit and you have done everything that you can, worked really hard, you are feeling stronger, you are feeling fitter. But the mind always tells you what if it happens again, what if you have to go through the same grind for three months, what if your shoulder is not ready, what if you came back early?

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"The fear is obviously there but I will fight it and I will overcome that."

Rahul, who averages 44 in Tests and compiled six consecutive half-centuries in the four Tests against Australia, is certain to open the innings in the first Test against Sri Lanka, starting on Wednesday, if he can prove his fitness.

With regular opening partner Murali Vijay sidelined with a wrist injury, one of Abhinav Mukund or Shikhar Dhawan is expected to partner Rahul at the top of the order.

Mukund was dismissed for a first-ball duck against a President's XI on Friday, while Dhawan - batting at No.7 - scored 41 before retiring out.

Mukund was named in the original squad while Dhawan was a late addition when Vijay was ruled out, indicating Mukund is the front-runner to play the first Test. The left-hander has just six Tests to his name, the most recent of which was the second Test against Australia when he made just 0 and 16 as Vijay missed the match due to injury.

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For Rahul, he's just happy to be back playing again after a frustrating and "boring" stint on the sidelines.

"Rehab basically for me is possibly the most boring thing you can ever do," he said.

"Just wake up every morning and to do the same boring thing again and again is quite tiring and it starts to get to you.

"You start questioning yourself, asking yourself if you really want to do all these boring things. You chose a sport that is exciting and challenges you everyday and here you are, waking up and doing boring things.

"That was the biggest challenge for me but I woke up and there was something that pushed me to go to the gym, go to the physio, go through the painful process, needling and then pushing my shoulder.

"It was quite tough but it is part of a sportsman’s life and part of our career.

"It's good that things like this happened to me early and I am hoping for an injury-free career going forward."

The first Test in Galle will be followed by matches in Colombo and Pallekele before the two teams contest a five-match ODI series and a T20 international.