Australia debutant Cameron Green was "taken aback" by some unusual words of encouragement from an unlikely source when he arrived at the crease for the first time in international cricket.
Green, 21, was visibly nervous as he entered batting at No. 5 in the 23rd over with Australia needing 186 to win against India in the third ODI in Canberra, having never previously batted higher than No. 7 in just eight List A innings for Western Australia.
After negotiating Shardul Thakur's over Green revealed that KL Rahul had a conversation with him during Ravindra Jadeja's next over.
"I was actually taken aback by how nice KL Rahul was behind the stumps," Green said. "I think he asked me if I was nervous or not and I just replied saying 'yeah obviously a little bit nervous' and he just said 'go well, youngster'. I thought it would have been the opposite. I think Virat [Kohli] was trying to be pretty loud at the time.
"I was a bit taken aback by how nice that was. I'll remember that forever."
Green made 21 off 27, eventually falling to an excellent catch by Jadeja at deep backward square. He was initially just 3 off 12 balls but said captain Aaron Finch helped him through a tricky start.
"Obviously early I was a bit scratchy...it took me a few balls to get used to it a bit but unfortunately in that situation you had to get yourself in quickly
"I had Finchy down the other end who was absolutely awesome. I think every ball he came up to me and said 'good job youngster, keep going, you're batting well, you've got plenty of time'. Having him at the other end was pretty special for a guy who has played...someone with that experience at the other end helping you out when you first start, I can't thank him enough."
Green's debut had plenty of hype around it after he made a huge impact with both bat and ball in Sheffield Shield cricket in his first three years as a professional, but he acknowledged the jump up to international level was enormous.
"They're class bowlers, especially their spinners," Green said. "I haven't faced quality like that. Jadeja is just a beautiful bowler who knows exactly what he's trying to do. Trying to spin a couple away from you and dart one back in. It was class bowling. You can do as much research and watch as much footage as you can, which I did, to get a better understanding of how they bowled, but it's a different beast when you're actually facing them out in the middle. It took me a couple of overs to get used to it. But I take a lot out of it."
Green also bowled four overs which cost 27. He has been on workload restrictions for both Western Australia and Australia as he continues to rebuild from multiple stress fractures in his back. He has only been bowling six overs in training every second or third day and was only going to bowl a maximum of six against India if required.
He nudged speeds of 145kph and produced prodigious bounce that surprised Kohli at times. But he also got an education from the India captain who took Green for consecutive boundaries in his first over.
"Fourth ball I tried to bowl a bumped to Virat and he was back on it so quick. He had so much more time than what I had seen before," Green said. "Obviously it's a pretty big step up than what I've seen."
Green will continue to be cautious with his bowling with Australia's strength and conditioning staff monitoring his workloads extremely carefully. If he were to make his Test debut in the upcoming Test series it would be unlikely he would bowl a lot of overs.
"[My] body is feeling really good," Green said. "[We're] being very slow. I'm not trying to bowl too many balls. I've started to try and do a 20 to 30-minute stretch daily. Something I haven't really done before, just to feel that little bit better leading into games. But the coaches in WA have been talking to the Australia guys to keep similar plans to what I've had previously, just to not bowl too much.
"I think when you get chucked into the Australian team you're probably going to try and bowl a bit harder than you probably would before. So just restricting that high intensity will definitely help."
There was a chance Green was going to be released to play for Australia A in the three-day tour game against India A at Drummoyne Oval as preparation for the Test series, but he will remain with the T20 squad and will be pushing to make his T20I debut during the three-match series.
Team-mate Glenn Maxwell was full of praise for Green's debut performance including how relaxed he had been after being told he would be playing.
"It was seriously impressive, and he's impressed a lot of people with the way he's gone about it," Maxwell said. "Not just with the ball, but the way he bowled to Virat in that little spell, the way he fielded was exceptional. Even the way he went about his batting, he took the game on and it was unfortunate to get out the way he did."
"I asked him how he'd slept and he said he still got nine hours sleep which is probably more than most of us got before our debuts. But he seemed pretty relaxed and I know he would have been pretty nervous when he first went out to bat, as everyone is.
"Your feet feel heavy, the bat feels a ton but the way he got into his innings, he was able to get through that little bit of nervous energy at the start and then show he's got a touch of class about him. So it's good signs for Australian cricket."