What makes KL Rahul so special?
An epitome of hard work, hunger to succeed and a desire to excel. That’s how one can describe KL Rahul in the best possible manner, perhaps.
An India U-19 player 2010, he has graduated through the domestic ranks from his home state of Karnataka through big scores, patience and perseverance, just the qualities of someone whom he respects so much, and a namesake too – Rahul Dravid.
It becomes quite difficult to talk about or discuss a player who is just so talented? Well, almost more than half of the entire nation thinks so apart from the team management at times.
Obviously, his injuries at wrong points in his career have not helped the cause either. But the bottom line remains the same. He is too good to be ignored in any form of the game. If I may repeat, just too good to be ignored.
An all-format player
Rahul has often been referred to as a special talent. The fellow cricketers, the pundits and the media have agreed in unison. No doubt, he surely is. The original Little Master Sunil Gavaskar even went on to address him as the next big thing in Indian cricket, just a few days back.
He scored his first Test century in just his third innings, an unbeaten ODI century on debut and a T20 century in the fourth innings.
This shows his adaptability to formats and the ability to stamp his authority on the format he is picked for. From March 2017 to August 2017, he had seven consecutive scores of 50+ in Tests. Unfortunately, none of them materialised into a ton.
By his own admission, the major point in his career came in IPL 2016 when he was with Virat Kohli in the Royal Challengers Bangalore setup.
With the world having no idea about his T20 capabilities, he finished with a decent tally of 397 runs with four fifties against his name, at a strike rate of 146.49. This led to his India T20 debut in June 2016 against Zimbabwe under Ajinkya Rahane.
Even though India is constantly batting the Test opening conundrum with Murali Vijay establishing himself as a first-choice opener and Shikhar Dhawan just being in the right form at the top of the order, Rahul has been left out quite often.
However, he has still managed to add to the team management’s woes whenever he has got the chance.
Even his career best Test score of 199 in the home series against England has come while opening the innings.
The number game
Here’s a bit of the number angle to his stature, which is growing day by day.
In 24 Tests, he has scored 1512 runs at an average of 40.86 with four centuries and 11 half-centuries. In 10 ODIs, he has scored just 248 runs but already has a century and a half-century to his name.
In 18 T20Is, he has scored 677 runs with two centuries and four half-centuries, at an average and strike rate of 52.07 and 154.21 respectively.
In IPL 2018, he amassed 659 runs from 14 matches with six half-centuries at a staggering strike rate of 158.41. The IPL century has eluded him though he did come close with an unbeaten 95 against the Rajasthan Royals.
It should be noted that within his short limited-overs career, he already has three centuries to his name (one in ODI and two in T20Is).
Last but not the least, his century in the recently-concluded first T20I against England at Nottingham came after a 564-day jinx. Would you believe that for a player of his calibre?
What does the future hold?
Rahul is due for bigger things in world cricket, not just Indian cricket. He has battled fitness issues at times, and that seems the only chink in his armour at the moment. He is as sound and technical as it can get while batting.
The form has hardly deserted him of late, and the way he is hitting the ball these days is second to none in world cricket. Be it T20, ODI, or Test cricket – he has presented himself as an automatic choice for all the three.
Team India would love to have him in their ranks, the fans would love him to serve the country and the media would love to write about him. India’s immediate future tours hold a great amount of importance for the team as a unit – and individually for someone like Rahul.
We surely have yet another Rahul special coming soon. For sure!
Do you think KL Rahul is destined for greatness? Sound off your opinions in the comments section below!