Over the past few years, it has been a joy to witness the Indian batting line-up destroy the bowlers from all around the world.
Indian batting has evolved over the years with some of the legendary players gracing it with their unbelievable knocks. A reliable and strong batting line-up is what has got the team going, ranking at the top positions in almost every format.
The opening partnerships of India have made a major difference in the batting performances over the years.
Be it the opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, or Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, or the recent third wheel to the Sharma-Dhawan partnership – KL Rahul.
The opening partnership in India has always been the pedestal for the rest of the line-up and when the openers go onto score a partnership of more than 100, a strong foundation is laid for the team. Be it or not, opening batsmen have the most pressure on their heads and the layout of the innings depends on them, and Indian openers have managed to develop a strong foundation over the years.
Indian opening partnership hasn’t struggled lately, be it a left hand-right hand partnership, or a right hand-right hand partnership.
The new man to emerge as one of the finest cricketers in the present scenario is KL Rahul. KL has been a performer for the team at No. 4 position and down the order too, but his most beautiful knocks have been as an opener for the Indian team.
His current form has created a great dilemma for the selectors and captain Virat Kohli.
He has been a constant performer in the past year and is the highest-ranked T20 player of India in 2019 according to ICC T20 rankings. The question has always been there and the solution needs to be addressed soon with KL Rahul’s emerging form.
KL Rahul has often been regarded as the next big thing in Indian Cricket and has even been compared to the greats of Sachin Tendulkar.
The young gun has scored some quick runs in recent times and has recorded an average of more than 40 in T20Is and ODIs. The Bangalore-born cricketer has a lot to go ahead and needs to be ready for the upcoming challenges.
Even though the player struggled mid-way in 2018 and was dropped from the team, Rahul made it very clear to the cricketing fans and experts all around the globe that he was going to make a brilliant comeback with the excellent batting skills and his composed nature.
Lokesh was in the news with Hardik Pandya for all the wrong reasons when Koffee with Karan aired and was even banned for some time from the Indian Cricket Team.
Since then, KL has not turned back and the player has managed to make his presence felt in the Indian Team with his sheer class and consistency. Rahul was recently named the captain of the Kings XI Punjab in this season’s IPL and Anil Kumble mentioned it as the right time for the 27-year old to become a captain as he could be the potential flag bearer of the captain position of India after Kohli’s trail.
Indian fans will hope to see more of him in the upcoming Australia Tour of India. His shot selection and understanding of the game is just brilliant, and his effortless batting speaks for itself. KL has had a brilliant record in the three formats of the game and he could just be the next big thing in Indian Cricket.
A lot of veteran cricketers have come in praise of him, and the most prominent being Sunil Gavaskar. The legendary batsman had words full of praises for the young batsman in his interview with The Quint. He said, “I think he (KL Rahul) is going to be the next big thing in Indian cricket and I do believe he still has the capability of becoming the next big thing if he just solely focuses on his batting and a couple of things that seem to have crept in.”
Former Indian opener, Gautam Gambhir is all praises for his successor as he flaunts about KL’s scoring ability and shot selection. Gautam Gambhir proudly said, “It’s not about only white-ball cricket; it is about Test cricket too. He just got into a shell too much. With the kind of quality he posses, he is someone who can get you a 50-ball 100 in Test cricket as well. The kind of shots he has is superb.”
KL Rahul’s career is quite short-lived currently but the tall guy has managed to set some records in a very short span. One of the most consistent batsmen of Indian Cricket Team in the present scene, KL has not only managed to surprise the fans with his extraordinary batting skills but even has the support of the selectors and team management on his side.
KL Rahul in Tests
Lokesh Rahul rose through the ranks of Under-19 cricket and was noticed by the selectors of the Karnataka team in First-Class cricket. He made his debut in the 2010-11 season but was dropped the succeeding year.
A new and improved version of the cricketer returned in the 2012-13 season and had a copious run of form to further become the highest run-getter of the season. The incredible form called for the highest honor for a player in domestic cricket, the Indian test cap.
KL Rahul’s debut match was rather a forgettable experience. On the boxing day at MCG, a nervous young kid came off the block to face the chirpiest team in Test Cricket, Australia.
Two shots down the pitch and that was the end of KL Rahul’s innings. With the series already lost, the Indian team decided to play Rahul for the Sydney test.
The captain noticed his nervous jitters but trusted Rahul for the opening position. The Karnataka boy held off strong and went onto score a century against the Kangaroos in Sydney.
A patient century came off the bat of KL and this was the proof that he belongs to the national side in Test Cricket.
This century was the start of something great and KL continued the momentum to score hundreds against West Indies and Sri Lanka on away tours.
KL has had a tremendous record in Test Cricket, where he has scored 2006 runs in 36 Test Matches, with 199 being his highest score. The player has a lot of patience and strength to become one of the finest Test players in the country.
KL Rahul in T20Is and IPL
After a tremendous run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament in 2013, KL Rahul became the newest member of Royal Challengers Bangalore and was exposed to the giants of cricket, Virat Kohli, Ab de Villiers, and Chris Gayle.
In the following year, KL Rahul saw a move to Sunrisers Hyderabad just to return to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016. The 2016 season for RCB witnessed the star batsman compile 397 runs in 14 matches to become the top scorer for the club,
After his stint in IPL, Rahul was selected in the limited-overs format for the series against Zimbabwe and West Indies in 2016.
That was the time when the nation got to know about his strength as a batsman across the three formats. He has been a consistent performer in the shorter formats of the game, especially in T20s.
His accolades in T20 forced the KXIP owners to spend an amount of 11 crores on the right-handed batsman in the 2018 season. In his T20I career, KL Rahul has managed to score 1237 runs at an average of 44.18 in 36 matches with 110 being his highest score in the format.
A quick scoring batsman, KL has never rushed his innings to a certain destination and has constantly managed to fire some great knocks under the hood.
KL Rahul in ODIs
As KL Rahul was burst into the shorter-format of the game, he was quick enough to showcase his capability to the world. Cricket experts saw a future star in the cricketer when he started his international career with a hundred each in ODI and T20 debut.
He went onto score some crucial knocks for the Indian team and was soon named as one of the finest emerging white-ball players.
His brilliant run in white-ball format but a rough patch in Test Cricket in 2018 led Rahul to live a double-life as a white-ball cricketer. His poor performance in the Tests continued as 2018 progressed and he had to be dropped out of the Test squad.
Just when it seemed like things couldn’t be worse for the batsman, Karan Johar’s talk show with him spread some rumors around him in the media and he was banned for a couple of matches.
This gave the batsman time to channelize his core and focus on his technique and KL came out of the facade as a confident young batsman.
His return as a focused batsman was visible in the decent run he had at the 2019 World Cup. KL has established himself as one of the finest openers for India in the current scenario and it will be up to the selectors whether to play him or Shikhar against Australia in ODIs.
He has played a few matches in ODIs as compared to the other three formats and still needs to prove himself as an effective batsman.
His stats speak for themselves but still, there is a lot to overcome for the young cricketer to establish himself as a reliable opener in the format. In 26 matches he has played, KL has managed to score 889 runs at an average of 42.06 with 111 being his highest score.
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