3 reasons why KL Rahul may be a better skipper than his predecessors

KL Rahul will lead India in the upcoming T20 series against South Africa.
KL Rahul will lead India in the upcoming T20 series against South Africa.
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Sooryanarayanan Sesha

KL Rahul has gone on to establish himself as a dependable cricketer over the last few years. The swashbuckling opener from Karnataka is the quintessential 'jack-of-all-trades' kind of a player, having mastered quite a few skills in the process.

After all, not often do you come across a player who can adapt to the middle-order as well as the opener's slot rather seamlessly, while also offering a wicketkeeping option.

Rahul, who is now India's vice-captain across all formats of the game, led the team (ODIs and one Test) during their tour of South Africa earlier this year.

18-member #TeamIndia squad for the upcoming five-match Paytm T20I home series against South Africa.#INDvSA @Paytm

Onus on KL Rahul to steer India against full-strength South Africa

Rahul will lead India in the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa, starting on Thursday (June 9). With seniors such as regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah given a rest, the onus will be on Rahul to steer the Indian ship against a full-strength Proteas outfit.

Here, we look at three reasons why Rahul could be a more successful skipper than his predecessors.

#1 Promising signs during IPL 2022

While his tempo with the bat raised a number of question marks, Rahul ended IPL 2022 as the second-highest run-getter with a tally of 616. He led the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) to the playoffs in the franchise's debut season before eventually going down in the Eliminator.

Rahul managing to marshall a troop that had come together for the first time speaks volumes of his capabilities as a man-manager. Moreover, the manner in which he held his nerve during tight defenses and came out on the right side of them pointed towards his growth and maturity as a captain.

Suresh Raina (in Star Sports) said "KL Rahul as a captain impressed a lot in the IPL, I feel he will do the same for Indian team as well".

His composure and quite a few instances of being a sound decision-maker certainly vindicated his rise as captain. This could go a long way in helping him lead India as well. For all we know, this could also aid him in achieving higher echelons of success than his predecessors, Rohit and Kohli.

#2 The depth of bowling resources in Indian cricket

It's stating the obvious when we say that Indian cricket has never looked in better stead as far as its bowling resources are concerned. So much so that even without a certain Jasprit Bumrah in the squad for the South Africa series, India's bowling unit wears a well-rounded look.

They just keep coming too - if Ravi Bishnoi and Harshal Patel impressed in the T20s against the West Indies, the likes of Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh could get an opportunity this time around. Add the likes of Mohsin Khan - someone whom Rahul believes will play for India soon - and the resurgence of Kuldeep Yadav, and it has only gotten better by the day.

It was this bowling revolution under Kohli that saw India become a dominating force in Test cricket. They've been consistent across formats and with this plethora of quality resources at his disposal, there is no reason why India can't dominate under Rahul's leadership.


#3 Enviable bench strength in Indian cricket

KL Rahul is currently 30 and if anything, his best years as a player are probably still ahead of him. The same can be said about his captaincy as well, considering that he has many years ahead of him where he could potentially skipper the Indian team.

The saying that floats around on a regular basis, though, is that the captain is only as good as his team. To that end, a quick glance at the bench strength of Indian cricket tells a story of its own. While stalwarts such as Rohit and Kohli might slowly be heading into the final laps of their careers, there is a long queue of potential successors knocking the door real hard.

Two extra teams has been such a blessing for the next gen of Indian cricket. And they’ve come prepared. The big stage, the superstars around and against, doesn’t matter. Just talent and incredible self-belief. Special knock that, Tilak Varma. Can’t wait for the next one #MIvRR

A good part of that is down to the strong India A programme that has been overseen by the selection committee led by MSK Prasad since 2016. Spoilt for choice, the current panel has plenty to choose from and it is tough not to fancy India dominating world cricket owing to the same.

With KL Rahul the likely heir to Rohit as skipper, this vast bench strength could well see him enjoy an even more fruitful captaincy tenure than his predecessors.

Also read: IPL 2022:"It's always challenging to get picked in the XI" - Prerak Mankad on his stint with Punjab Kings

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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