It is often considered a strategy of the weak to employ the concept of “luck” or “fate” in everyday occurrences. To the practical-minded souls, all that counts are the hours of toil and effort that one is ready to pitch in towards his journey to success. Rake in the hard work and success will follow; the ultimate triumph will be accorded.

But will it be fair to totally discard away the role of destiny in shaping careers? Or is it just about seizing the limited opportunities that come your way? Ask cricketer Karun Nair, for example. With Ajinkya Rahane ruled out of the Test match against England last year due to injury, the former was given a spot in the final eleven. He was advised to make the most of it but even a grand triple century was unable to seal his spot in the squad. Rahane was always going to be the frontline player and with his return, Nair’s career climbed never peaked again.

A similar question has been hovering around talented batsman KL Rahul as well. His talent is unparalleled. His technique, rigid. Often termed as a better bet than Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian cricket team, the Karnataka player has had to face the music as far as his spot in the national colours is concerned. Dhawan’s inconsistencies have been covered by his ability to raise the game in crucial junctures and his aura has ensured that Rahul remains the second choice opener in both the five day format and the LOIs.

It can be called a cruel trick. Despite grasping onto the chances that have come his way, Rahul finds himself warming the benches on most occasions. Surely an average of 44.62 in twenty one Tests and 52.14 in ten T20s garners better respect!

But it is here that he is blessed with an option. He can either mourn his situation or emerge a stronger and a keener player the instant his time does arrive. When it did, in the first T20I against Sri Lanka at Cuttack, he opted for the latter.

Coming in place of Dhawan, who was rested for the game by Captain Rohit Sharma, the 25-year old was aware that it was his moment to shine. Over the next 48 deliveries he managed to give adequate glimpses of his temperament and his street smartness as he thwarted the Lankan bowlers all over the park. His knock of 61 was accompanied with seven boundaries and a maximum and even though his strike-rate was overshadowed by the blistering knocks of Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni, the wide array of shots in Rahul’s armoury hardly went unnoticed.

The googlies by Akila Dananjaya were tucked away without discomfort and the fuller length balls were wisely defended. As a Dushmantha Chameera delivery gripped onto the surface, Rahul shrewdly checked his intended drive for no run.

The leg-spin was easily picked and so were Angelo Mathews’ deliveries that were strewn all over the pads. After surviving a reprieve, the batsman went into overdrive and made full use of the short balls that were targeted at him.

In the eighth over, Thisara Perera welcomed him with a back of a length ball, which was pulled away comfortably towards the deep mid-wicket boundary. The very next ball, the Sri Lankan captain corrected his length but it too was met with a similar result. The bad balls were rightly punished and even a perfect delivery from Vishwa Fernando in the eleventh over was sliced away with ease and élan.

The shot of the evening however, was the long pull over deep backward square leg off Mathews, who pitched in a short ball to his opponent. The delivery, which swayed around his hips, was managed technically with great footwork for a huge hit. As the half-century was breached, Rahul had once again stamped his authority in style.

On a wicket that proved tough for the batsmen, the right-hander’s perfectly timed innings after the early departure of Rohit helped in laying a solid foundation, where from the middle order could capitalise. By showing great presence of mind, he realised the importance of holding one end up and instead of brashly going for his shots, he chose to settle down and then go after the bowling.

Once he did, it was pure delight. He might or might not find a permanent spot in the team even after this innings and the confused dilemmas of fate trumping over hard work might not evaporate, but one can in no way deny the potential possessed by the batsman. In Cuttack, he exuded just that.