IND v AUS 2020: KL Rahul brought to Australia knowing India already had opening options, says Virat Kohli

KL Rahul has played five Tests in Australia with little success.
KL Rahul has played five Tests in Australia with little success.

Ahead of the Adelaide Test against Australia, Indian captain Virat Kohli opened up on KL Rahul’s role in the side’s Test squad. Terming Rahul as a ‘quality player’, Kohli believes the Karnataka right-hander is one of India’s best players and therefore was drafted into the Test squad for Australia. Kohli also hinted that once Rohit Sharma returns, he will come back as an opener.

“It [Rahul’s chances of making the XI] boils down to the combination. KL is obviously a quality player,” Kohli told the reporters before BCCI released the playing XI for the pink-ball Test.
“KL was brought into the side understanding that we do have opening options already. When Rohit Sharma comes back into the team, we have another opener who is established and going to start. So where and how KL fits in is a conversation that we will have to monitor closely. We have to bring our best squad to Australia and then go ahead with the best combination,” the Indian captain added.

Prithvi Shaw, 21, has been named in the XI as an opener despite his recent struggles in the IPL and inconsistent run in the warm-up games. Slamming a century on his Test debut against the West Indies two years back, Shaw has three fifty-plus scores in seven Test innings. He slammed a quickfire 54 in his last Test against New Zealand in Christchurch.

Fast-tracked into the first-class setup in the 2016-17 season, the Mumbai opener averages 53.78 from the 24 first-class games he has played.

KL Rahul’s inconsistent Test run

KL Rahul made his Test debut in Australia during the 2014-15 tour. Starting in the middle-order, he slammed a hundred as an opener in his second Test at Sydney. In the five Tests that he has played in Australia, Rahul has 187 runs at 20.77.

Rahul’s inconsistent run against the red ball saw him lose his place in the Test side after the West Indies tour in 2019. Having scored 2,006 runs from 36 Tests at 34.58, Rahul has five Test hundreds to his name with the last one coming at The Oval in 2018.

KL Rahul won the Orange Cap during IPL 2020. His sublime form in limited-overs cricket paved his way back to the Test squad; however, he didn’t play the warm-up games ahead of the Test series.

With his state-mate Mayank Agarwal set to resume duties as the Test opener, KL Rahul was competing for the other opener’s slot with youngsters Shaw and Shubman Gill.

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Edited by Habil Ahmed Sherule
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