A tale of two halves for K L Rahul
Consistency is the hallmark of a true batsman. A batsman can be labelled ‘reliable and dependable’ only if he has the ability to score runs in different conditions against different bowling attacks.
But one batsman from the Indian team has not entirely lived up to the expectations this year: KL Rahul.
A player gifted with extraordinary stroke making and timing, Rahul has, sadly, managed to create false hopes in the minds of cricket fans recently. He had a magical Indian Premier League season eleven, amassing 659 runs in 14 matches at an astounding average of 54.91.
He, along with Chris Gayle, had got their team (Kings XI Punjab) off to a flying start on several occasions. The repertoire of strokes which he played, be it the handsome lofted extra cover drive or even a classic sweep shot, was definitely pleasing to the eye. But his heroics in IPL was completely offset by his poor show in the international arena.
Out of the 11 Tests for India this year, Rahul has managed to score 422 runs in 19 innings, averaging just 23.44. *The way he struggled to cope up with the incoming deliveries clearly suggests that a flaw might have creeped up in his technique. He seems to not be moving his feet while driving, and moreover, is playing a lot of strokes away from his body, as a result of which he ends up nicking a lot of deliveries to the slip cordon.
There was a glimmer of hope that he had corrected his technique when he scored a scintillating 149 in the final Test against England at Kennington Oval, London. But all the hopes died down after he once again failed to convert his starts in the home series against the West Indies.
Rahul has played only a few games in the ODI and T20I formats recently and had a decent outing in both of them. But he is unlikely to find himself a place in the eleven, as the team combination is looking settled.
The selectors have still persisted with him by picking him for the Australian tour. It could indeed be his final chance to prove everyone of what he is really capable of doing. A failure in this tour could bring his international career to a temporary halt. There are a lot of promising openers like Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal ready to cement their place in the team. Only time will tell of where his career is headed.
*The record stands as on 7th December 2018 i.e. after the first innings of the first Test between Australia and India.