Virat Kohli confirms KL Rahul’s role: The Indian captain seems to have given a clear role to the wicket-keeper batsman.
India batsman Lokesh Rahul seems to have finally cemented his spot after warming the bench for India’s limited-overs squad for more than a year. From opening the batting to batting in the middle-order to keeping wickets, Rahul successfully playing the “jack of all trades” in the recent past might just make him the “master of one” now.
As far as batting in T20Is is concerned, the 27-year old has been among the runs while batting in the top-order in the absence of either of opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, vice-captain Rohit Sharma or captain Virat Kohli.
Absolute class #KLRahul. Luxury to have a player who can bat anywhere.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 17, 2020
Having scored 338 runs in nine T20Is at an average of 48.28 and a strike rate of 142.01 including four half-centuries, Rahul is the highest-run scorer for India in their recently concluded home season.
Regular wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant getting injured during the first ODI against Australia earlier this month called for Rahul to keep wickets in the first two ODIs. Rahul scoring a free-flowing 80 (52) at No. 5 in the second ODI in Rajkot impressed Kohli to the extent that he is being considered over Pant as a wicket-keeper batsman in the limited-overs sides.
Virat Kohli confirms KL Rahul’s role
Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan getting ruled out from the tour of New Zealand and the presence of Pant in the squad had once called for confusion with respect to Rahul’s role in the five-match T20I series starting from tomorrow in Auckland.
Speaking during the pre-series press conference at Eden Park, Kohli confirmed that Rahul will both keep wickets and open the batting alongside Sharma in the first T20I.
Having made the decision, India now have an option to play one out of Pant or Manish Pandey at No. 5 in the T20I series. With India preferring Pandey over Pant in the third ODI against Australia, there’s a feeling that they are likely to persist with their decision.
Virat Kohli in PC confirms KL Rahul will open in T20s and continue to keep wickets as well. Said probably will have impact on other players, but they wont care about what is said.
Also added that Rahul will keep in ODIs but not open as the “Rajkot solution” seemed good. #NZvInd
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) January 23, 2020
Going by Kohli’s statement, India are all set to hand an ODI debut to 20-year old batsman Prithvi Shaw who has been announced as Dhawan’s replacement for the three-match ODI series. Currently in New Zealand to represent India A on a shadow tour, Shaw has already posted scores of 150 and 48 in his two outing so far.