Sanjay Manjrekar has urged KL Rahul not to open for the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in IPL 2024. KL Rahul aggregated 274 runs at a rather underwhelming strike rate of 113.22 in the nine games he played for in IPL 2023.
He suffered a thigh injury while fielding against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) which ended his tournament midway and he was out of action for a few months.
While previewing the upcoming IPL auction on Star Sports, Manjrekar opined that KL Rahul should bat down the order for Lucknow Super Giants. He reasoned, “I have got a very drastic suggestion. Because they have got somebody like a (Devdutt) Padikkal in, open with Padikkal and Quinton de Kock because all good performances of Padikkal have come at the top.”
The former India cricketer added, “Have KL Rahul bat down the order. It will change KL Rahul’s T20 batting career and the fortunes of the franchise as well.”
The Lucknow-based franchise got Devdutt Padikkal from the Rajasthan Royals (RR) ahead of the auction. In return for the trade, LSG released Avesh Khan to the Jaipur-based franchise, with the exchange resulting in a net addition of ₹2.25 crore in their remaining purse. Devdutt Padikkal was one of the star performers for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2020 edition of the IPL.
KL Rahul Is More Lethal As A Middle Order Batter
KL Rahul has secured his position in the middle order after performing well in the Asia Cup 2023 and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. He cemented his place as a number five batter and Manjrekar hopes the same from him in T20s. KL Rahul could bat at number four for the Lucknow Super Giants which will allow the likes of Kyle Mayers or Quinton de Kock to open the innings and provide a flying start up the order.
Lucknow Super Giants finished third in the points table in the 2023 edition of the IPL. They were eliminated by Mumbai Indians in the eliminator round of the playoffs. KL Rahul did not have an auspicious IPL in 2023 and he will be looking for redemption this time around.
KL Rahul can change his way of playing if he bats in the middle order as it has been constantly seen that he struggles to accelerate at the top of the order. However, batting down the order might help him accelerate quickly and he can prove to be an even bigger asset for the franchise.