‘He can get a 50-ball 100 in Tests,’ Gautam Gambhir’s huge praise for India batsman after Indore T20I against Sri Lanka | Crickit
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‘He can get a 50-ball 100 in Tests,’ Gautam Gambhir’s huge praise for India batsman after Indore T20I against Sri Lanka

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Aug 21, 2020 04:37 AM IST

India vs Sri Lanka: Gautam Gambhir showered praise on India opener KL Rahul after his performance helped India beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.

Impressed by KL Rahul’s free-flowing strokeplay in the 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Tuesday, former India opener Gautam Gambhir heaped praise on the right-hander, terming him a better bet than Shikhar Dhawan – on current form – to open with Rohit Sharma in India’s T20I team.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir(Twitter)
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir(Twitter)

Chasing 143 for victory, Rahul gave India a fantastic start by scoring at a brisk pace in the powerplay. Rahul took the attack to the Sri Lanka bowlers right at the beginning to push them on the backfoot. The right-hander top-scored for India with a 32-ball 45, helping the hosts win the match by 7 wickets and 1-0 up in the three-match series. The first match at Guwahati was a washout.

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Gambhir said Lokesh Rahul is someone who can even go and score a 50-ball century in Test matches if plays his natural game.

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“KL Rahul is in unbelievable form. It amazes me every time I see Rahul bat that why didn’t he play the same way in Test cricket. It’s not about only white-ball cricket; it is about Test cricket too. He just got into a shell too much. With the kind of quality he posses, he is someone who can get you a 50-ball 100 in Test cricket as well. The kind of shots he has is superb,” Gambhir told the host broadcasters after India chased down the target with 15 balls to spare.

Rahul lost his place in the Test side to Rohit Sharma after a string of low scores. But the Karnataka opener has been in scintillating form in white-ball cricket, scoring 62, 11, 91 and 45 in his last four T20I innings.

Rahul was given an opportunity to open the batting in the West Indies T20Is and ODIs after Dhawan was ruled out because of an injury. But his outstanding returns in both the T20I and ODI series has now given rise to a ‘pleasant’ headache for the Indian team management.

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Dhawan, who has not been at his best in the shortest format of the game, made a comeback to the side on Tuesday but looked rusty in his 30-ball 32-run knock. Reacting on the debate of who should be opening with Rohit Sharma, Gambhir said based on current form, it has to be Rahul.

“You can’t compare IPL to international cricket. When you’re playing for Delhi Capitals, you know there’s no one waiting for the opportunity, but when you’re playing for the country and you know there’s someone who actually can replace you, there’ll always be pressure. And today it was shown who’s in better form. KL Rahul is in a different,” Gambhir said.

Gambhir also pointed out that the time Rahul spent in domestic cricket has done him a world of good. “Rahul played the entire domestic season. He played Syed Mushtaq Ali, he played Vijay Hazare. Though he was playing well in white-ball cricket he still went there and continued playing, getting runs for his side. Well, the results are there for everyone to see,” Gambhir added.

Gambhir, however, sounded confident that Dhawan will bounce back strong in the next games and it was a good thing that he spent some time in the middle on Tuesday after an injury lay-off.

“Shikhar Dhawan looked rusty but it’s a good thing that he got some runs under his belt. It will help him when walks out to bat in the next game. Had he got out early, the pressure would have been more,” Gambhir said.

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