Kings XI Punjab have scripted a brilliant turnaround to keep themselves afloat in the playoffs race in the ongoing IPL. After having lost six of their first seven games, KXIP looked dead and buried but three consecutive wins against the top-ranked sides in the tournament has given a new lease of life to the franchise and Jonty Rhodes, former South African cricketer and KXIP’s fielding coach, has lauded skipper KL Rahul’s calmness for the turnaround.
Hailing KL Rahul for his calm demeanor, Jonty Rhodes said that the charismatic opener’s not-so fiery temperament has helped him give himself space as a leader, especially in times where his team bottled plenty of match-winning positions.
“KL played a massive role. It is easy for a captain, especially someone who is performing so well, to say c’mmon everyone pull your socks up. But he has a calm presence and is not a fiery temperament. Even when he is batting, he doesn’t work up a sweat even though he is hitting the ball over covers for a six. He is a calm personality and it is very important as a captain that you give yourself the space to be yourself,” Jonty Rhodes told ANI.
“Being calm doesn’t mean you are not concerned or you taking things slowly. He is very hardworking and very competitive. But doesn’t get upset or influenced by circumstances around him. For the first time, Rahul got fired up was in the last game against Delhi Capitals after the first six overs when we didn’t put up a good display and they were looking like scoring 180-190. He just said guys we need to pull up our socks. And the guys responded well to him because he has been calm and consistent through the wins and losses. Players feel he has got their back. His consistency through wins and losses allows him to ask for a bigger and better performance,” he added.
‘He is multi-dimensional’- Jonty Rhodes on KL Rahul
Having scored more than 500 runs with five half-centuries and a hundred, KL Rahul has been incredibly consistent with the bat this season.
And, Jonty Rhodes feels that Rahul, with the kind of temperament and technique that he possesses, he is an all-format batsman.
”But KL has just been so consistent. He is multi-dimensional and that is important because as a cricketer you need to adapt to every scenario. The players who are able to adapt are the ones who are successful.” Jonty Rhodes said.
“Someone like KL, wherever he has batted he has scored runs — top or at number four. And the reason he fields so well is because as a wicket-keeper you move your feet. People talk about great hands, soft hands. But I feel you can have the best hands but if you can’t get to the ball, you are never going to catch it. So, I focus on athletic ability, mobility and quick feet and that is why KL is good behind the stumps and in the outfield. He moves to get into position very well.” he added.
“Some team have different players for Tests and then different for even 50-overs and T20s. A lot of the countries have very different Test teams as compared to their limited-overs teams and that is where KL has such a big advantage that he can adjust and has a sound technique. He plays spin and pace well and hits the ball really late and gives him an advantage in any of the formats and in any position,” he said.