Team India gave a clear evidence of the strength of their reserve bench against Pakistan at Old Trafford on June 16 when KL Rahul came in to fill up the big vacuum created by the injury to Shikhar Dhawan. The right-handed batsman hit first-ever fifty in a World Cup while putting up 136 runs for the first wicket with Rohit Sharma (140). Rahul’s dismissal was disappointing but his 57 settled the opening concerns for Virat Kohli in the high-voltage tournament without any fuss.
Rahul was brought into the team as a supporting opener but in the warm-up game against Bangladesh, he slammed a hundred at No.4 to assure the team management about manning the position. The debate over who will bat at that position since the player picked for it – Vijay Shankar – seemed to be inexperienced, out of form and also injured. The Karnataka batsman had a moderate outing in the first match against South Africa as he scored 26 at No.4.
Against Australia in the next match, he came out at No.6 as Hardik Pandya was sent at No.4 to accelerate the scoring. And against Pakistan, he batted at No.1. The batsman, who has scored only 17 ODIs so far, has shown his flexibility by batting at three different positions in as many games. However, former India captain and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar is still not convinced with Rahul. According to him, Rahul is very talented but played some “stupid shots” against Pakistan.
He must be hungry for runs
“KL Rahul has a lot of potential but he should score big runs. A 100 was there for the taking (against Pakistan) yet he chucked his wicket away. He played some stupid shots which I would not recommend to anyone,” the 63-year-old was quoted as saying by India Today.
Rahul saw soft dismissals in both the games against South Africa and Pakistan after showing a lot of promise and that hasn’t impressed the ‘Colonel’. He said Rahul can score straight and pick runs; has so many shots in his arsenal and is good enough to score 150-170 which is not happening. “He must be hungry for runs,” Vengsarkar said.