KL Rahul, the bi-lateral scourge
KL Rahul (Source: AP Newsroom)
India has won both of their opening matches in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. While the team looks generally in a good form, there are still a few concerns that they need to deal with. One of the major issues is the Indian opening batters not being able to give them good starts.
If looked deeper into India's opening problems, it would be clear that KL Rahul's inability to comply with his role is putting added pressure on Rohit Sharma. As a result Rohit has had to change his game and do things which don't come naturally to him.
Speaking of Rahul, he has been pitched as one of the most talented batters and probably the torch-bearer of the team post Kohli-Rohit era. But he has yet failed to justify the claims with his performances.
He has been brilliant with his bat in bilateral matches or games where India were not under pressure in multi-national tournaments. But in contests, where India needed the flare for him to get a solid start KL has failed to deliver. Let us have a look at his last few performances in bi-lateral series and multi-nation tournaments in T20Is.
KL Rahul's performance in last few series
As we see except the 2021 T20 World Cup, KL Rahul's performance in the multi-nation tournaments have been dismal. Now, speaking of his performance in the 2021 T20 World Cup, let us have a look against which teams did he score the runs.
KL Rahul's performance in the 2021 T20 World Cup
As we see, that he scored half-centuries and all of them came against teams with no that potent bowling attack. Also, after losing the first two matches against Pakistan and New Zealand, India was virtually out of the tournament and there was no qualification pressure on him. Thus no pressure, bowling attacks with less potency and KL delivered.
Even if we take a look at the 2022 Asia Cup a similar pattern will be noted.
KL Rahul in Asia Cup 2022
Here also, KL failed against Pakistan in the first match. The again in the Super 8 stage, in the must win matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka he failed to impress. But in the last match against Afghanistan, he played a gem of 62 runs from 41 balls.
In the matches where there is not pressure on him, KL oozes the class that he is reputed for. But whenever the crunch moments comes he does not remain even half the player.
Thus, it is definitely not a technical issue, it is mentality that he and the team management needs to tweak. The fact that he is failing to deliver and the expectations around him his probably getting into his head.
Hence, the biggest order of the moment in case of KL is adjustment in his mentality. He needs to learn to treat the big matches as the normal ones and bat with the same freedom and mindset that he does in those matches.