Can KL Rahul be the new 'Mr. Dependable' for Team India?
It is nothing but a dream start to a fascinating journey for the star Karnataka batsman, Kannanur Lokesh Rahul. He has always looked up to Rahul Dravid as his idol and no wonder he has produced a miracle and created history. After smashing a test century in his debut series against Australia in 2014, Rahul created history and scored a century in his ODI debut match against Zimbabwe too.
The 24-year-old became the first Indian to hit a century on ODI debut. He had a brilliant T-20 season too where he scored 397 runs in 14 matches including 4 half centuries in the recently concluded IPL.
Format changes but runs don’t cease to come for him. His innings against Zimbabwe was a reflection of his character and temperament. Touted as a traditional test player, Rahul has defied the odds and come out strongly to establish himself as an all-round cricketer. Can he be the batsman who can be the new ‘Mr. Dependable’ for India?
Indian Cricket has been in dire need of a ‘dependable’ all round cricketer who can provide strength, balance and composure to the team. The current team lacks stability and transition across the formats which are major concerns.
Rohit Sharma has been in good form in the ODI’s but is failing to find his touch in the tests. Rahane, who has shown constant growth over the years, is still trying to pack that punch. Dhawan and Raina have both been inconsistent with the bat and are facing a lean patch across all formats.
With only Kohli performing elegantly for India in all formats of the game, fans pin their high hopes on him. The pressure created in such a situation is unimaginable. This was witnessed in the semi-final match against Australia in the ICC World Cup 2015 where Kohli got out in pressure.
Though the RCB-captain has grown immensely as a cricketer after that, having Rahul in the team will provide an additional boost to the Indian batting. He might be able to ease that pressure over Kohli and his other counterparts.
A technical orthodox batsman by nature, he has the versatility of adjusting his game to different situations which will come handy when India play different formats.
Many doubted his ability to adapt to other formats of the game when he started playing Test Cricket. But, Rahul broke that stereotype, and in some style. He worked hard with dedication and sincerity and it paid off.
Rahul, who began his international career with the Test format of the game, after featuring for India in the ODI format, is soon expected to make an appearance for India in T20’s too. He has a staggering T20 record where he has scored 1050 runs in 53 matches including 7 half-centuries.
The world witnessed his carnage in the 2016 IPL where he amazed the cricket fans with his scintillating stroke play. His batting display was a reflection of what can be considered as true class. He was not only technical but also was fearless in taking risks. No doubt he is riding high on confidence!
He has matured as a Cricketer after having played 7 years of domestic Cricket by becoming more responsible and selective in his shots. He has an impressive domestic record where he averages 52.50 in the First-class and 42.74 in the List-A.
Credit has to be given to BCCI for picking him up in the limited-overs squad for the tour of Zimbabwe. With a plethora of choices available to the board, it was a decision which would give India it’s much required and needed dependable all-rounder.
Rahul didn’t disappoint his fans and neither the Board. He smashed an unbeaten century in his debut ODI match against Zimbabwe at Harare to guide his team to victory. He led the chase and was clinical in his batting approach. The patience and dedication shown by him were truly remarkable.
Already a fixed member of the test team, he could soon cement his place in the team for other formats and can be the captain’s ‘go-to’ batsman. Reminiscent of Rahul Dravid, the team can rely on him in difficult situations. He is tough, gritty and fearless which makes him stand out among his competitors.
A wicket keeper batsman, Rahul’s wicket keeping skills also give him an advantage. He can be used be a back-up for Wridhiman Saha in Tests and M.S. Dhoni in ODI’s. This will give both Dhoni and Kohli a great opportunity to have a balanced team composition.
It will not be wrong to admit that Rahul can be the new ‘Mr Dependable’ of team India. He, along with Kohli can take Indian Cricket to scale new heights and achieve wonders.