Not so long ago, Rohit Sharma was considered an underachiever as he failed to live up to his big promise. The shift in his career came when he started opening for India in limited-overs cricket in 2013. KL Rahul too seems to be following Rohit Sharma of before 2013.
Interestingly, Rahul has been dropped from the Test squad to pave the way for Rohit as the opener in the Test series against South Africa. Rahul is not permanent in the limited-overs squad as well due to his inconsistent form.
However, Rahul started his career with a bang. In his first 12 Tests from 2014 to 2016, he managed four tons. But since then, in the next three years, he has managed just 1 ton in 24 Tests. His lone ton in the past three years came in a dead rubber in England.
In limited-overs cricket, there was no space at the top with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan making it their own. But Rahul was given the chance to cement his place at No 4, but he failed to grab the opportunities. Now, he gets a chance to play limited-overs cricket only if either of the two regulars is not available.
So, what’s wrong with Rahul? Can he come out of this tough phase and do justice to his immense talent? Cricwizz finds out what ails Rahul and how he can overcome this tough phase in life.
Technical flaws of KL Rahul
The overseas Test series last year exposed Rahul’s technical frailties. He fell to the incoming delivery a few times during the England series. He was susceptible to the incoming deliveries and was either bowled or leg-before during the England tour. He found it difficult to survive in the tough conditions of England & Australia. And one failure after another dented his confidence to no repair. Unless he goes back to the drawing board, he would struggle in Test cricket. Maybe, a talk or two with former cricketers can help him get out of this phase.
Throwing away his wicket
Rahul has been guilty of throwing his wickets away in crucial phases of the game. In the World Cup, he was found losing his patience and playing a few rash strokes to throw away his wicket. Falling to a good ball is a different story, but losing the wicket away to a rash stroke creates a bad impression in the minds of team management. Hence, you see Rishabh Pant on fire now for the same reason.
Rahul was set to be dropped after his dismal England tour last year, but a ton in the last Test saved his spot for the Australian tour. Also, he managed a few runs under his belt in domestic cricket to grab a berth for the Australian tour.
But his consistent run came to haunt him. And he flattered to deceive once again. The West Indies Test series was the perfect opportunity for Rahul to make amends and pile runs on a weak opposition. But Rahul failed to get a big score.
On the other hand, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuman Vihari made the full use of the opportunities and scored a ton each to cement their places for the South Africa Test series. Rahul was left rueing the lost opportunity.
What’s the way ahead for KL Rahul?
Rahul has immense talent, but he needs to work on his weaknesses to solve his recent problems. The team management has full faith in Rahul, considering the long run he has been given in Tests, but the cricketer has to repay the trust by scoring consistently for his team. A fifty or a ton here and there would not serve his cause any good.
So, is KL Rahul a waste of precious talent?
Rohit was too considered a waste or precious talent before he turned his career around after being asked to open. And Rahul is already an opener who gets maximum overs to bide his time, let go the tough time pass and make merry when the sun shines. But Rahul hasn’t been able to turn things around. Rahul should take a leaf from Rohit’s past and turn his career around like the Hitman.