'Babar's got style, but Rahul right up there': Aussie great says India opener 'reminds me of Martyn' in stunning praise
The former Australia star reserved massive praise for India opener KL Rahul, as he compared the 30-year-old with Australia' batting great Damien Martyn.
India's star opener KL Rahul took the crease on Tuesday after having faced significant criticism over his lack of runs in recent international outings. Since his return to international cricket last month, Rahul played in three ODIs against Zimbabwe where he had a highest score of 30, and his strike rate remained a concern in the 2022 Asia Cup as well (122.22). He did end the campaign on a high with a strong 62-run innings against Afghanistan, but it came in an inconsequential game as India had already been knocked out of the continental tournament.
However, Rahul remained undeterred with the outside noise over his form as he faced Australia in the 1st T20I in Mohali, as he raced to his half-century in 32 deliveries and eventually scored 55, playing a key role in India putting a strong score of 208/6 in 20 overs. The side did lose the game by four wickets in the end, but Rahul's knock would have provided the team management, as well as India fans with some relief.
Ahead of the game, former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson spoke in detail about Rahul during a conversation on the ICC Review. Watson stated that Rahul is one of his “favourite” players and even drew his comparison with Australia's batting great Damien Martyn.
“When it comes to style, KL Rahul has always been one of my favourite players. His skills, how effortlessly he takes on fast bowling, spin... He has got all the shots in the book, and he times the ball so beautifully. When I look at him batting, it makes me think of Damien Martyn, and the grace he had when he played. He hit the ball hard but it looks like he didn't try to hit the ball hard at all,” Watson said.
Besides Rahul, Watson also mentioned fellow India batter Suryakumar Yadav and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam in the same bracket, but stated that Rahul is “right up there” for him.
“In recent times, Suryakumar Yadav certainly got that style as well. Babar Azam as well, can't go past him. But when it comes to KL Rahul, he's just right up there. He just takes on the best bowlers in the world with so much ease. It's not that easy!” said the former Aussie star.
The 30-year-old Rahul will be aiming to bank on the momentum when India return for the second T20I of the series against Australia in Nagpur on September 23.