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Off The Pitch With KL Rahul

The swashbuckling cricketer, KL Rahul has played in all formats of the game and has a persona that is endearing on and off the field.

Bindu Gopal Rao

As one of the brand ambassadors for Puma, KL Rahul has come up with his collection 1DER—an affordable range of athleisure clothes and footwear. He was in Bengaluru to launch Puma’s biggest store in South India at Orion Mall when Zee Zest caught up with him to talk about his fashion aesthetics, captaining a new IPL team, and more in this exclusive chat.

1. Tell us about your association with Puma and what this means for you

My association with Puma has been quite a long one and I have been with them for quite a few years. They have really supported me in my journey and stood by me. Many times, brand associations are just that. If you are doing well, the brand supports you, but nobody is around when you really need them. That is why I am so connected with Puma, and they are like a family to me and are very close to my heart. This is one brand that I can see has really supported me in my journey and whatever I wanted to do. And even now to put their faith in me and give me this opportunity to collaborate with them on 1DER, an athleisure line, shows their belief in me. I am somebody who really likes fashion and wants to do things in the space, and there could not be a better opportunity and platform than Puma. They have given me complete freedom to do so and I am very happy.

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2. What does your fitness regimen look like and how do you keep fit. 

When you are in a profession that demands you to be fit, it becomes a lifestyle. And fitness is something that I have always enjoyed, not just because I am a sportsman. I think being fit is the least you can do to look after yourself. Irrespective of your profession, the most important thing is self-love and you must realise that no one else is going to look after you. Also, I look at fitness as a whole and it is not just going to the gym and lifting weights or going outside and running. While these are important because I am a sportsman and I need to be strong, it's also about what I eat and how I sleep. To keep my mind and body fit at the same time I try to play different sports, go for a hike, swim in the ocean, and do whatever is available at that point in time to be active.

3. What does fashion mean to you and what are some of the must-wear items in your wardrobe?

I love fashion and I am borderline obsessive as I need to keep buying new things. I cannot stop myself from getting new sneakers from Puma and with 1DER I am constantly trying to do new designs with clothing, shoes, bags, and caps because I enjoy it. Mostly, I try to keep it athleisure because that is what feels true to me. I am a sportsman, which is my life and my bread and butter. So, I try to keep it sporty and comfortable—and yet at the same time stylish and cool.

4. Congratulations on becoming the captain of Lucknow Super Giants! What are your thoughts on this IPL season in this new team?

Thanks, it is a fresh start and a new IPL season. There are new individuals that have come into the team—all talented athletes from different parts of the country. And to get an opportunity to lead all these guys, to make a difference, and try and create a special team and special atmosphere to build that winning culture is what I am looking forward to. The next two months are going to be really a lot of fun and I'm super excited for it.

5. What has been your best moment on the field to date and why?

The one thing that stands out for me is the Test series in England—it has been special for all of us. While we have been playing in England, we have always fallen short of winning. Hence, we made sure that this time we keep our focus on winning a series in the country. Our Test wins at Lord’s and Oval in the series were very memorable. My hundred and winning the Test match will always be close to my heart.

6. Since you play in all formats of the game, which do you enjoy the most and why?

Off late, I have started to enjoy Test cricket quite a bit.

7. What do you like doing when not playing cricket?

Travelling, listening to music, drawing inspiration for my brand 1DER, and working on the various aspects of the brand are things I like doing when I am not on the field.

8. What is your diet like?

I have been a vegetarian for the past few years. I don’t really consume dairy products either. While I have added sugar to my list of no-nos, I allow myself to indulge occasionally.

Photo: Instagram/ KL Rahul; Puma
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