Former Indian cricketer-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has admitted that he had repeatedly called for the inclusion of someone else in place of KL Rahul in the Indian Test squad while acknowledging the stylish batter for his brilliant knock in his comeback Test.
KL Rahul was initially earmarked as a middle-order batter for the Test series against England but with Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal unavailable due to their respective injuries, Rahul was promoted to the top of the order for the Nottingham Test.
Rahul was dropped in August 2019 following a long string of poor performances at the Test level as his technique repeatedly got exposed against the moving ball.
But, Rahul showed exemplary discipline and self-belief on his Test return, silencing his critics to the hilt.
KL Rahul scored a patient 214-ball 84 in the first innings and, along with Ravindra Jadeja, pulled the Indian team out of woods after the visitors had suffered a middle-order collapse.
“I was impressed as well as extremely happy for KL Rahul. I have been regularly saying that he failed in Test matches for 4-5 series, so I was feeling that someone else should be given a chance in the Indian Test squad or Test XI because KL Rahul was not giving good performances in Test cricket,” said Sanjay Manjrekar on Sony Sports.
Manjrekar lauded KL Rahul for exercising his past demons in Test cricket.
“He also knew that and when you play Test cricket and your previous memory is not good, it is not easy to come and play confidently. But he showed a very good attitude in tough circumstances, he showed a lot of patience.”
Sanjay Manjrekar also pointed out that KL Rahul has made a noticeable change to his batting technique in order to counter the incoming delivery.
Rahul kept getting bowled or LBW during his previous trips to countries like England, West Indies and Australia.
But Manjrekar believes that Rahul’s new technique where he is keeping his bat very close to his pads allowed him to counter the challenging conditions and grind out a brilliant knock when his team was pushed against the wall.
”The technical issue because of which he had gone out of the team, he was confused whether to play or leave the line outside off-stump but in this innings, it seemed he got some clarity on which ball to play and which to leave.” said the former cricketer.
”He has adopted a new technique as well, he is keeping the bat very close to his pads. Because of that, I feel he was able to play a big knock and when the innings was getting dependent on him, it was good to see that he carried the team’s burden,” said Manjrekar.