As India square off against Australia in the three-match T20I series, beginning Tuesday in Mohali, a lot of the focus would be on how KL Rahul performs with the bat in hand. In the recently-concluded Asia Cup, he managed to score 132 runs in five matches. However, with Virat Kohli scoring century in the Super 4 match against Afghanistan, there have been calls for opening the batting with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. However, on Sunday, skipper Rohit confirmed that KL Rahul would open the batting in the T20 World Cup with Kohli being the third or backup opener.
When one talks about the shortest format of the game, KL Rahul’s strike-rate has always been a point of debate. In 61 T20Is that he has played so far, the right-handed batter has a strike-rate of 140.91. However, there have been times when the batter has found the going tough, the match against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup comes to mind, where he scored 36 runs off 39 balls.
Rahul was asked about this issue ahead of India’s first T20I against Australia in Mohali and he spoke elaborately on the issue.
“Look, obviously something that every player wants to work on. No one is perfect, everybody is working towards something, obviously strike-rates are taken on an overall basis. You never see when a batter has played at a certain strike-rate, whether it was important to play for him to play at 200 strike-rate or whether the team could have still won with him playing at 120-130. These are the things that no one analyses.”
“Yes, it is something that I am working at, the roles that have been defined to each player in last 10-12 months have been very clear, everyone is working towards it. And, I am just working towards how can I better myself as an opening batter and how I can have an impact for my team whenever I go out to bat,” he added.
Further talking on the same topic, Rahul said: “There can be criticism for many things. But the most important thing for a player is that what his captain, coach and teammates think of him in the dressing room. Only we know what role is expected of each player. Everyone is trying to give their best, but not everyone can succeed in each game. It is the kind of environment we have created where players are not scared to commit mistakes or fail.”
“Anyone can criticise but we criticise ourselves more than any of you do because we are representing our country, you want to win games for your country, and we want to win the World Cup. All of these things are in our mind, if we do not do well, it hurts us as well. What goes in our group, that is what is important. The captain and coach are always encouraging players, not just when they are doing well but also when they are going through a tough time which is what a player wants to see, which is any individual would want to see, a little bit support, a little bit of care when someone is down,” he added.
India squad for Australia series: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.
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