Shikhar Dhawan has heaped praise on his India teammate KL Rahul for staging a solid comeback with the bat in the first ODI against England in Pune.
Coming in to bat at No.5, Rahul scored 62 off 43 balls to help Team India post 317 in their stipulated 50 overs. He also claimed three catches as a wicket-keeper.
KL Rahul had a torrid time with the bat in the T20Is and had scored just 15 runs in his previous five international innings.
But Rahul has turned things around in spectacular fashion and now looks good for more. Calling him a "much stronger player" after his string of failures, Shikhar Dhawan believes the right-handed batsman will gain a lot of confidence from his brisk fifty.
In the post-match press conference, Dhawan called KL Rahul a "class player" and claimed that the right-hander would bat more fluently in upcoming matches.
"It was great to see KL Rahul score a half-century. He's a class player and we all love watching him play. Failures make champion players stronger. I'm sure he's a much stronger player now. The way he came in today and helped us cross the 300-mark was great to watch. I am sure this knock will help him gain more confidence and we will watch him bat more fluently," said Shikhar Dhawan, who top-scored for India.
KL Rahul is highly-rated for his versatile abilities with the bat. Despite his string of failures, he remains India's highest-ranked T20I batsman, occupying fourth spot in the ICC T20I Rankings for batsmen. He was also the recipient of the Orange Cap in IPL 2020.
Shikhar Dhawan & KL Rah led India's charge in the 1st ODI
KL Rahul was India's preferred opener in the T20I series against England, while Shikhar Dhawan warmed the bench after failing in the first T20I. However, the southpaw made the most of his opportunity in the opening ODI by striking a 106-ball 98. He stitched together a 105-run partnership with captain Virat Kohli, enabling Team India to build a robust platform.
A flurry of wickets - they lost four for just 36 runs - then put India on the back-foot. However, KL Rahul and debutant Krunal Pandya paved the way for the hosts' recovery with an unbeaten partnership of 112 runs off just 57 balls.