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KL Rahul aiming to make amends with improved performance in T20 series against South Africa

Pranjal Mech
ANALYST
News
2.45K   //    11 Feb 2018, 19:21 IST

KL Rahul India Cricket
The 25-year-old Karnataka batsman was not selected in the Indian ODI squad against South Africa

What's the story?

After failing to make an impact in the three-match Test series against South Africa, Indian opener KL Rahul is hopeful that he can put in a vastly improved performance in the 3-match T20 series which will follow the ongoing ODI series between the two teams.

Preferred to Shikhar Dhawan in the final two Test matches of the series, Rahul failed to impress, scoring just 30 runs from 4 innings and was overlooked for the ODI leg of the tour.

Stating that he was surprised by the seam movement encountered during the Test series, Rahul is hopeful that he can redeem himself in the shortest format of the game against the Proteas.

"I didn't think there would be so much seam movement. The seam movement with pace and bounce was new. It's a deadly combination and you don't want to be an opener when all these things are happening," Rahul said.

"But it was a good learning experience for me. I know what I need to tweak in my game and where I stand when it comes to my skill," he added.

In case you didn't know...

Despite losing the opening two Tests, India have made a strong comeback in their tour to South Africa, winning the final Test at Johannesburg as well as winning the first three ODIs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 6-match ODI series.

India's winning juggernaut was brought to a halt on Saturday at Johannesburg with the hosts winning the 4th ODI based on D/L method after rain and lightning had forced the match to be curtailed to 28 overs in the South African innings.

Extra Cover: The KL Rahul Conundrum: A timeline

The heart of the matter

Despite the Indian selectors retaining their faith in Rahul for the T20 format, the Karnataka batsman has done little to indicate that he is ready for the challenge that awaits him in South Africa when he returns, scoring just 22&3 in his two innings so far in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

While Shikhar Dhawan has impressed in the ODI series with a string of good performances, including a century in the 4th ODI, albeit in a losing cause, his partner at the other end, Rohit Sharma has been having a miserable time and Rahul is optimistic that he can get a few games in and put his international career back on track with the T20 series against South Africa.

The 25-year-old stated that he is remaining positive despite a patchy run of form and feels that a good knock is just around the corner. He feels that his biggest problem has been in converting the starts into big totals and added that he is working hard on it.

Extra Cover: South Africa vs India 2018: India announce squad for T20I series

What's next?

The fate of the ongoing ODI series between India and South Africa will be decided after the final two matches of the series which will be played at Port Elizabeth and Centurion.

The 3-match T20 series will begin on February 18 at Johannesburg, while Centurion plays host to the second T20 on Wednesday, February 21.

The final match will be played at Cape Town on February 24.

Author's take

With Rohit Sharma unable to hit any kind of form during his time so far in South Africa, KL Rahul stands a good chance to feature in the Indian T20 side.

Rahul is played a splendid knock of 107 against Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and will be training for a couple of days before heading to South Africa to join up with his teammates.

The Karnataka batsman is too good a batsman to be out of form for too long and the Indian cricket fans will be hoping that Rahul can provide a good platform at the top of the order so that the side can sign off on a positive note from their tour to South Africa.

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Pranjal Mech
ANALYST
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