KL Rahul's childhood coach speaks about the RCB player's improved T20 batting
KL Rahul's childhood coach Samuel Jayaraj talked about his student's transformation as a T20 batsman.
KL Rahul was known as a Test batsman a year back but the 24-year-old cricketer surprised everyone with his exploits in the shortest format in this year’s IPL. His heroics with the bat earned him a spot in the Indian limited-overs squad for the tour of Zimbabwe.
In a recent interview with the Indian Express, Rahul’s childhood coach Samuel Jayaraj talked about the transformation of his student from being a solid Test batsman to an exciting explosive middle-order batsman. Rahul was one of the main contributors for the Royal Challengers Bangalore with the bat, behind Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
The right-handed batsman scored 397 runs in 14 matches this season at an average of 44.11 and with a blistering strike-rate of 146.49. However, a year back Rahul called his coach and asked what he should do to become a big hitter.
In reply to his pupil's question, Jayaraj said, “If you want to be a big hitter, clear the stadium … don’t clear the boundary. Because if you look to clear the boundary, you will end up mistiming one and handing a catch to the fielder.”
The coach also advised him with a couple of observations to help the Test opener establish in the shorter format. Jayaraj told him to spend more time in the middle. He said, “Look to spend more time at the wicket. Don’t look tense, don’t reaching out for deliveries and avoid ungainly shots.”
The Karnataka batsman also went through some health issues in his quest to become a regular international player in all formats of the game. He was down with dengue in August last year and after barely recovering from the disease he endured a quadricep muscle injury.
Jayaraj pointed out that Rahul’s evolution as a batsman would not have been complete if he had not started off as a wicket-keeper, “It is a misconception that Rahul is a part-time keeper. He has always been a wicket-keeper who can bat. Right from the U-15 days, he has managed to hold his own as a keeper. It was only after he cemented his spot in the Ranji squad, that keeping took a back seat. Keeping helps you read the bounce and pace of the wicket, and improves your concentration.”
Jayaraj also said that Rahul’s association with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers has helped his game, “Rahul is such a keen learner of the game that it was only a matter of time before he would succeed in this format. He is such a strong guy mentally, and someone who is keen to prove his detractors wrong. But I guess the bigger point to be noted is the intense competition in the RCB squad only breeds innovation amongst players.”