All eyes were on KL Rahul, the current limited-overs vice-captain, when India was invited to bat first by Hong Kong at Dubai International Stadium. Rahul made his comeback to the national side earlier this month against Zimbabwe, but was unable to notch anything substantial.
In the opening clash of the Asia Cup, Rahul got out cheaply to Naseem Shah. With the T20I World Cup not much far away, India can’t afford to persist with a batter who has shown no signs of coming back to form. The clash against Hong Kong presented him a great opportunity get some runs under his belt, but he wasted that too.
Rahul consumed 39 balls and laboured to 36 before throwing off his wicket to Mohammad Ghazanfar. He looked way too complacent against a very weak bowling attack, and managed just one attacking shot in the Powerplay. This has become a recurrent theme of Rahul’s limited-overs career, playing such soporific knocks when he is fully capable of tearing apart any bowling attacks with ease.
“Is there something in the pitch that is not visible? Simply can’t fathom this approach, especially from KL Rahul. #IndvsHkg,” wrote Venkatesh Prasad, the former Indian cricketer.
On the same pitch where Rahul scored at a strike rate of 92.31, Suryakumar Yadav slammed 68 off 26 deliveries. Yadav’s knock comprised of six fours and as many sixes, and it helped India reach a stiff total.
“If your opening batsman is going to play one attacking shot in the powerplay, that too against a team like Hong Kong, then he is batting in the wrong position and playing the wrong format,” wrote one user.
Moreover, his game against spinners leaves a lot to be desired. There’s no questioning his position yet, but time is running out for Rahul. If there’s no improvement over his performance in the latter games of the Asia Cup, India will be hard-pressed to explore other options at their disposal.
As far as yesterday’s game is concerned, India restricted Hong Kong to 152/5 to win by 40 runs. They are likely to meet Pakistan again in the next round.
Lead Image: KL Rahul/Twitter