India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour is confident that KL Rahul will soon storm back to the sublime form he had last year. On Tuesday in the third T20I against England, the opener was bowled for a duck – he has now scores of 1, 0, and 0 in the three matches in the series so far.
With Ishan Kishan blasting a fifty in the previous game, the pressure of position in the side is mounting on KL Rahul, despite skipper Virat Kohli declaring Rahul and Rohit Sharma as their first-choice openers.
However, Vikram Rathour points out that these are just three notable failures KL Rahul has suffered in a long time. The right-hander has been in tremendous form with the bat in T20 cricket; indeed, Rathour believes Rahul is the best short-format batsman in the Indian team.
“Anybody can have a lean phase. Last one year, I think KL has been our best batsman in the T20 format. He’s averaging more than 40 with a strike rate of 145. So three failures does not change that fact, that he’s maybe the best batsman we have in that format, and he’s done really well for us in the past year,” Vikram Rathour said at the post-match press conference.
“I think this is the time that, as a team, we need to support him. Absolutely sure he will come out of this lean phase that he’s going through,” the batting coach added.
KL Rahul will continue to be one of our main batters at the top of the order: Virat Kohli
Captain Virat Kohli has also thrown his weight behind the Punjab Kings captain. Kohli points out that he himself hit a rough patch until a couple of games ago, and came back to form with two consecutive half-centuries, after securing consecutive ducks. The skipper asserts that Rahul has been in surreal form in T20 cricket before this series, and also maintains his previous stance of the Karnataka lad being one of India’s important batsmen at the top.
KL Rahul averaged 44.70 with a strike rate of 141.52 since January 2019 before the start of the series against England; he was Man of the Series in New Zealand last year; and has been a prolific run-scorer in the IPL winning the orange cap last season.
“I was going through a lean patch 2 games ago. These things turn around very quickly. He’s been a champion player for us. If you look at his numbers in the last 2-3 years, they’re probably better than anyone else in T20 cricket. He’ll continue to be one of our main batters along with Rohit at the top of the order, so we don’t have any concerns there.
“T20 is a very instinctive game and we know once he starts playing positively and a few shots come off, then it’s a matter of 5-6 balls in this format and suddenly you’re back into that zone,” Virat Kohli said.