KL Rahul’s performance has come under scrutiny after a series of failures in the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia. Rahul’s inability to capitalize in the Powerplay has become a recurrent feature this year, and the clamor for his exclusion has already started on the internet.
In the opening fixture against Pakistan, Rahul played eight balls before getting bowled by Naseem Shah. Against the Netherlands, he got pinned leg-before, and in the latest match versus South Africa, he couldn’t score a single run off the first over by Wayne Parnell, and was eventually undone by Lungi Ngidi.
In none of these three matches, he could score at a decent pace and struggled to time his innings. In the Powerplay, Rahul has been averaging 33 with a strike rate of just a shade over 100 in the 14 innings he has played this year.
These numbers surely don’t paint a good picture of him. There’s not much time for him to turn things around, as India wouldn’t want to go to the deep end of the tournament with an opening batter who is woefully out of form. Many fans have already turned their back on Rahul, and want the team management to bring Rishabh Pant into the mix. Pant has fallen out of favor with the second coming of Dinesh Karthik, but he may soon play his first game.
When Vikram Rathour, the batting coach, was asked about Pant, he said, “The message to him is to be ready and your chance might come anytime. He should be mentally and physically ready. He is doing that and you might have seen him practicing regularly. I am sure he will be ready whenever the opportunity comes.”
Pant remains the most obvious choice if India thinks they need a left-handed batter in the top-order. Even if India decides to persist with Rahul as an opener, there’s a place for Pant in the lower middle order, given Karthik hasn’t been able to live up to expectations. India will next play, against Bangladesh, on 2nd November.
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