Kings XI skipper Rahul displays King-size cricket


Everybody is aware of the talent of Kings XI Punjab skipper K.L. Rahul. But he deserves a special applause in view of power-strokes he displayed against the bowling attack by Dale Steyn, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini. Rahul has definitely kindled a hope for future by smashing like this in death overs. 

He made 49 runs in the last two overs and 74 runs in the last four overs. What else any team needs in the death overs. Four sixes and two fours in two overs of Dale Steyn, two sixes and one four off Shivam Dube, and two sixes of Navdeep Saini came as a delightful spectacle of bold batting of Rahul. And these shots were smashed despite the big ground and particularly the big square boundary of the Dubai stadium. When Rahul was out of form, he was finding it difficult to score runs for Team India. But the team management had spotted the hidden talent in him. He got tremendous opportunities and Rahul used the opportunities to the hilt. 

The result of this is that he is now the only batsman in Team India who always gets ready to accept every responsibility of the team. He got the responsibility of opening the innings for Team India and he rose upto the expectations. He was sent to play at number 5 and there also he proved to be a good finisher. When he was given glove work, he again performed well behind the wickets. He performed well with bat in whatever format he got the chance and proved his utility. 

Now he has got a chance of captaincy in IPL 2020 and in this role also he has risen to expectation. He worked for building innings against RCB in Dubai. While building up the inning, he avoided hitting sixes, but after it was consolidated he shifted the gear and did explosive batting and made huge runs. He did not care who the bowler was. However, he got a benefit of being dropped by Virat Kohli at one point of time in the match. This way he got the reputation of a skipper having played the biggest innings in IPL. This is also the biggest inning by an Indian player in IPL. Last year, Rahul had completed his century off 65 balls against Mumbai Indians at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

The most remarkable speciality of Rahul’s batting is that he takes the ball in the middle of the bat. He displayed this by playing cover and midwicket drive against RCB. A trainee practising at any cricket academy can learn a lot from such shots. Neither Saini’s pace could frighten him, nor Chahal’s googly nor Steyn and Umesh Yadav’s slower off cutter could give him any nervousness. He blasted such off-cutter balls in trademark ease and style.

 Rahul has also become the fastest Indian player to have completed 2,000 runs in IPL. He also broke Sachin Tendulkar’s eight-year-old record. He took three innings less than Sachin to have completed 2,000 runs. 

The Board and team management should focus on such an all-rounder and a talented player. He should be given rest at regular intervals to save him from injuries. It is better that he is given responsibility of wicketkeeping in T20 matches only; for, if he is given this responsibility with the opening task in ODIs, then he will be under a lot of pressure, mental as well as physical.