Former India batsman, Aakash Chopra conceives the possibility of Nitish Rana earning a call-up to the national squad if he continues the form he is batting in. The left-hander smashed 80 runs off 56 balls and bagged the Man of the Match award in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
It was his third score of 80 or more in his last 5 IPL innings – he was promoted to open the batting for KKR towards the end of last season, and has clearly been instructed to take on the bowlers from the first over itself, giving Shubman Gill the time to settle in.
Nitish Rana, in fact, has had a decent past few seasons – he has scored over 300 in the last 4 seasons, at a healthy strike rate too – but the southpaw would need to level up further, and become more consistent if he has to make it into the Indian squad, which is already brimming with high-quality players.
“Nitish Rana batted amazingly well after KKR were asked to bat first. If he keeps playing like this, an Indian team call-up might not be too far for him. There is a possibility,” Aakash Chopra said in a video on his YouTube channel.
Nitish Rana was continuously hitting fours and sixes against both spin and fast bowling: Aakash Chopra
Nitish Rana started the innings by driving Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a boundary through the gap in the covers; he didn’t look back and staged a 53-run opening stand with Gill, of which the right-hander scored 15. Rahul Tripathi then joined hands with the Delhi-born batsman and both took the SRH bowlers to cleaners – Aakash Chopra says that they could have taken the score above 200.
Chopra believes that the 27-year-old needs to be a little more consistent – of his last 5 IPL innings, in which he has 3 scores in the eighties, the other two times he got out for ducks. Indeed, Rana has 12 fifties in the IPL but hasn’t converted any of it into a three-digit score. KKR take on Mumbai Indians in a mouth-watering clash on Tuesday.
“When you play on this pitch, it is necessary to capitalize on the new ball. There Nitish Rana was running ahead of Shubman Gill and was not hesitating to take risks. Whenever he opens, his graph is up and down, with alternating 80s and zeroes.
“When he got out the team’s score was 160, fifty percent runs had come from his bat. Till the time Rana and Rahul (Tripathi) were batting it seemed like it was a totally one-sided game and KKR will reach around the 200-run mark. Both batted very well.
“Nitish Rana hit a boundary off the first ball and after that was continuously hitting the fours and sixes against both spin and fast bowling. He is actually a very decent player,” the former opener added.