MSK Prasad admits KL Rahul’s form being a concern: The Indian Chief Selector has expressed disappointment at the opener’s recent performances.
The year 2018 made India opening batsman Lokesh Rahul witness both the highs and lows of playing cricket at the highest level. Having scored 659 runs in 14 matches at an average of 54.91 and a strike rate of 158.41, Rahul finished the 11th season of the Indian Premier League as its third-highest run-scorer.
While a century each in the T20I and Test series in England once again highlighted him doing well on the foreign soil, what happened before, between and after it raised significant questions on his form.
In the 28 matches which Rahul has played across formats since the start of 2018, he has scored 870 runs at an average of 26.36 and a strike rate of 78.94. Talking specifically about the Test matches, Rahul scored 477 runs in 13 Test matches at a below par average of 21.68 and a strike rate of 59.69.
@sports_tak #AskSportsTak Will India pick a backup opener for World Cup in KL Rahul/Rahane or can take the risk of playing Ambati Rayudu as an opener? @vikrantgupta73 @manoj_dimri @rawatrahul9 @rashikarajput01
— Kanishk Johri (@KanishkJohri) February 12, 2019
For the WC, who can be the third opener (If not KL Rahul) #RaunakRetorts
— Priyank Sanghani (@ipriyanks) February 12, 2019
After his suspension was revoked earlier this year, Rahul came back to represent India A in three unofficials ODIs. Returning with scores of 13, 42 and 0, Rahul didn’t make the best of the chances given to him. While he scored 89 (192) in the first unofficial Test against England Lions at Wayanad, his chances of making it to the Indian squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 appear bleak.
MSK Prasad on Lokesh Rahul’s form
In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, chief selector MSK Prasad expressed disappointment and admitted that Rahul’s dwindling form is ‘definitely’ a cause of concern for the selectors.
“In England he could have done well. I was very disappointed when he failed against West Indies at home. But with his style of play we thought he would definitely do well in Australia because he had done well on the previous tour [2014-15] there, and pace and bounce suit his game better. Unfortunately he did not deliver. It is a definitely a cause of concern,” Prasad was quoting a saying.
While he was concerned about Rahul, the chief selector also mentioned that the selection committee still has confidence in him. Referring to his T20I century against England at Manchester, Prasad hailed him as a batsman of ‘supreme class’. He also highlighted the fact that he hasn’t received consistent chances in ODIs.
Sir why you always mention that Indian Top order batsmen can’t play in middle Order like Mayank Agarawal Prithvi Shaw Shubman Gill Shreyas Iyer kl Rahul all batsmen have ability to rotate Strike as well big hit according to situation #AskSportsTak @vikrantgupta73
— Bablu Kumar (@Bablu725020) February 12, 2019
Kl Rahul better option World Cup 3rd opner but m agrawal and pratvi show
— Rajpal Solanki (@RajpalSolanki20) February 12, 2019
“Having said that, he is a class act and he is just a good knock away. All of us have confidence him. Take that century in the Manchester T20. He is a batsman of supreme class. He has definitely failed in red-ball cricket, but you cannot look at red-ball form in white-ball cricket.
“Also, he has had limited opportunities to play in ODIs owing to the good form of the regular opening pair of Rohit [Sharma] and Shikhar. Even in the Asia Cup, he sat out. That did not help him. So not only was he was failing in Test cricket, the majority of the time he was sitting out in white-ball cricket. So that failure got magnified,” Prasad added.
Having talked about MS Dhoni being the most important player for India in the World Cup in the same interview, Prasad didn’t wholly rule Rahul out of contention for the world event. “Of course, he is definitely part of the conversation, but we expect him to get runs if he has to make a comeback,” he said about Rahul’s chances.