After Tests, KL Rahul’s T20I Career Hanging By A Thread As Karnataka Batsman Set To Be Benched For 2nd South Africa T20I
What wrong did KL Rahul do? That is the biggest question to be asked to the team management. After falling back to Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer in T20I and ODI line-ups, respectively, he looks set to warm the bench once again as there is no place for the right-handed batsman either at the top or in the middle-order in white-ball cricket.
At the top, Shikhar Dhawan will continue to hold one of the two spots. He has struggled in the shortest format and the ongoing South Africa series could be a make or break series for him, going into T20 World Cup next year.
In the middle-order, Manish Pandey got the nod over Rahul in the West Indies series, which came as a big surprise.
Rahul sat out for first two T20Is in the USA and only opened the innings in the third match when Rohit Sharma was rested.
Not long back, KL Rahul was opening the innings for India in World Cup and also did well – he scored 361 runs at 45.12 – but the sudden change of plans in white-ball cricket since then has seen him lose his place in playing XI altogether.
Rahul is already out of the Test, having lost his place to Shubman Gill for the South Africa series. His axing from Tests is understandable, he has struggled for runs for a long time now but in white-ball cricket, Rahul has done well and the team combination has seen him fallen back.
The only way he can get a place in playing XI in T20Is for Bangladesh series is if the seniors are rested.
Rahul, who has been a consistent member of the T20I squad since 2016, has scored 899 runs in the format 42.80 with a strike-rate of 148.10, that includes two centuries as well.
Should Dhawan revive his T20I career against South Africa, it would be really impossible for Rahul to make his comeback in the T20I side.
The second T20I of the series will be played in Mohali today. The third and the final T20I will be played in Bangalore on Sunday.
The two teams will then meet in the three-match Test series. During this period, Rahul will be turning up for Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.