The upcoming season of the IPL is going to be very special for KL Rahul. The right-handed batsman will be leading a side for the first time in the tournament as he gears up to change Kings XI Punjab’s fortune. The Punjab-based outfit has failed to do well in recent years.
Since making it to the first-ever IPL final in 2014, Kings XI Punjab have not made it to the playoffs. Despite having a strong squad at their disposal, they have somehow failed to deliver as per expectations. As far as KL Rahul is concerned, he has been an exception and has done really well for the team in the last two season.
The India star would be looking to continue his fine run with the franchise in IPL 2020. And while only time will tell how he fares in his maiden season as captain, he is sure his opening partner Chris Gayle will inflict damage on the opposition. Describing the West Indian as one of the best T20 players by far, the Kings XI Punjab captain said the kind of impact the left-hander has on the team can only be felt from inside the dressing room.
“To have somebody like that, just the name itself, it shakes up an opponent and has so much impact. And what Chris has done for the teams he has played with, and Kings XI, is really, really unbelievable. If you were part of the Kings XI dressing room you will know what kind of impact he has had,” KL Rahul told ESPNCricinfo.
‘He will take them down’:
Serving a timely reminder to other IPL teams, KL Rahul further said that no bowling line-up could stop Gayle once he is in his elements. He went as far as saying that having a player like Gayle in the team is a blessing.
“He is somebody who is very, very open to talking to youngsters and helping other people out. He comes in with so much T20 experience. He is by far one of the best T20 players ever. You know that when he walks in and when it’s his day, no matter how good the bowling line-up or an opponent, he will take them down and he will win the match. So to have somebody like that is a blessing,” he said.
Before playing for Kings XI Punjab, both Gayle and KL Rahul played for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The India wicketkeeper-batsman further said that his rapport with the West Indies legend in brilliant. He also said Gayle’s guidance has helped him hone his batting skills.
“The partnership that we have shared, and the rapport we have, is brilliant. We share a great friendship away from the field as well. He is somebody who has always guided me. I have gone up to him and spoken to him a lot about T20 batting and opening the batting. He is a very deep thinker of the game – I don’t think a lot of people know that about him. They think he is just brute force and takes down [bowling attacks] and keeps scoring runs in T20s, but there is a lot of planning that Chris does well.
“I get to understand and see that in the middle, and that has helped me in my game personally as well. To have him again this year is great. We have spoken a bit during the lockdown; he seems to be training really hard. He is keen to do what Chris Gayle does, so that is a great sign for us,” Rahul said.
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