Under-performing KL Rahul is reportedly set to face the axe for the upcoming Test series against South Africa. India have backed KL Rahul to the hilt but it has not made much of a difference. The opener has continued to disappoint and his dismal performances in the Caribbeans seem to have finally ended the team-management and selectors’ patience in him.
Rahul has managed only 664 runs in his last 30 Test innings, with his only notable score – 149 against England at the Oval last year – coming in a dead fifth rubber. In the recently-concluded tour of West Indies, he could not cross the 44-run mark in four innings. And now reports suggest that the selectors have run out of patience with Rahul and want to try Rohit Sharma as an opener.
Rohit, who has so far batted only in the middle-order in Tests, did not get any chance in West Indies. With Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari doing well, Rohit is unlikely to break into the middle-order anytime soon. Thus, the team-management is keen to try him out at the top of the order.
The selectors are also likely to name a reserve opener for the upcoming series and Bengal star Abhimanyu Easwaran is the likely replacement for Rahul. Easwaran has been a prolific performer at the domestic and in India A games. Easwaran truly deserves a chance due to his stunning consistency in recent times.
He had a blockbuster season for Bengal in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy. Easwaran ended with 861 runs, the fourth highest from the Elite Group teams. He scored three centuries while averaging a staggering 95.66. All of his three centuries oozed class as he scored 186 against Hyderabad, 183* against Delhi and 201* against Punjab.
The double century against Punjab was his first in first-class cricket. Just a few months later, he bettered it by scoring 233 for India A against Sri Lanka A. Recently, he helped India Red win the Duleep Trophy by an innings and 38 runs as he cracked 153 in the first innings to lay the foundation for the massive triumph.
Easwaran’s run-scoring feat has been truly remarkable and one can say that he deserves a chance. With India struggling to get reliable openers, he can get fast-tracked into the eleven. Easwaran can well end Bengal’s long wait for a star name in the Indian batting lineup since Sourav Ganguly.