Nitish Rana has been one of the pillars of strength for KKR. The southpaw has proven his worth for the Knights time and again with his sturdy performances. This season, however, it didn't augur well for the Delhi lad. Nitish turned Covid positive at the very start of the mandatory quarantine in Mumbai. Staying inside a hotel room all by himself, even though he was constantly being monitored, wasn't an easy task at all.

"I had a feeling as if I was being crushed under the ceiling and by the walls. I didn't tell either my father or mother about Covid. I didn't imagine I would turn positive. It was a tough time. But by the 7th day when I started feeling better, I knew I would go out within two-three days and play. I just wanted to make sure this doesn't affect my game," Nitish recalled the days of isolation in the latest KKR Film Covid Conquerer.

A family sitting a thousand kilometer away in Delhi was waiting in anticipation for his recovery even though Nitish had kept the news under a tight wrap initially to keep his wife and parents in good spirit.

"While talking to him on the phone, I figured out that he was not feeling to well. But we actually figured that it was just a flu. I was really scared for him because he wasn't telling the truth. He was less on video call because he was physically and emotionally tired," recounted Nitish' wife Saachi Marwah.

The virus was taking a toll on his body and there was a time when he could barely walk even short distances inside his room. However, it's his mental strength that kept him on course of a speedy recovery even when the going seemed to be getting tough.

"On the second or third day (of the infection), he said he could not get up to go to the toilet. He felt his bones were not even there. That's the kind of pain he was going through," Dinesh Karthik reflected.

The journey to recovery was painstaking but within seven days Nitish's health started showing positive changes. By the 12th day, he was out on the field with the rest of the team hitting balls out of the park!

"Though he felt all the symptoms, he is someone very strong in his head. So even through this phase, he maintained, 'don't worry, I will definitely play. Come what may, I will play'. He came (to practice), hit 10-20 balls and then said, 'bhaiya I want to hit at least one-two sixes'," recollected assistant coach Abhishek Nayar.

Nitish's grit showed its magic in the first half of IPL 2021. He kick-started the campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad with a match-winning 56-ball 80, and topped it up with another 50 in the next match against Mumbai Indians.

"Every first game of the season for KKR, he has always stood out. Whether with the ball or the bat, he has always contributed and been a key factor. I think that's the belief system he has in life. He is always ready to put his heart on the line for his team," Nayar added, aptly summarizing Nitish's cotribution to the team.

It is his resilience that not only helped him conquer Covid but also many hearts. He bounced back just the way a top-notch sportsman is expected to. It is his irrepressible mental toughness that brought the best out of him. No wonder, he continues to be an asset for Team KKR.