'I'm not at all comparing KL Rahul with Dhoni. But...': Ashwin makes splendid 'middle-order' statement on India star
Ravichandran Ashwin spoke in detail about KL Rahul's excellent outing during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan earlier this week.
KL Rahul staged a remarkable comeback to international cricket in the Asia Cup earlier this week, delivering a spectacular century against arch-rivals Pakistan in their Asia Cup Super 4 showdown on Monday. Rahul's explosive performance included two sixes and twelve fours as he remained unbeaten at 111 off 106 deliveries; his innings propelled India to a mammoth score of 356/2, as the side registered a 228-run win.
Rahul's journey back to the playing XI began after sustaining an injury during the 2023 Indian Premier League, which led to surgery and a subsequent rehabilitation period at the National Cricket Academy. Although initially named in the Asia Cup 2023 squad, a minor issue had kept him out of action during the group stage encounters against Pakistan and Nepal.
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In fact, Rahul was not in the playing XI for the Super 4 game against Pakistan and was only brought in as a last-minute change to replace Shreyas Iyer, who faced back spasm moments before the toss. Rahul was slotted into no.4 spot in the batting order, with Ishan Kishan also part of the XI; the returning wicketkeeper-batter retained the spot in the match against Sri Lanka as well.
Moreover, despite making a comeback and playing across three consecutive days in ODIs against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Rahul also kept wickets in both games. Following his brilliant performance, Ravichandran Ashwin was all praise for Rahul and also stated that the wicketkeeper-batter is mastering his role in the middle-order.
"KL Rahul is giving us that stability with the bat in the middle-order," Ashwin said.
"That’s why batting in the middle-order is really difficult. MS Dhoni nailed that art. However, I am not at all comparing KL Rahul with MS Dhoni. Plus, he did a different role of batting at number 6/7 compared to KL Rahul.
"But I feel he is slowly mastering his role perfectly. He put a partnership with Ishan Kishan initially against Sri Lanka too. When Dunith Wellalage was in a great rhythm, KL Rahul left it alone for two deliveries. That was a very good sign. It showed us that he had a good game plan," he added.
India await opponents in final
Team India await their opponents in the final of the Asia Cup 2023, as one of Sri Lanka and Pakistan will meet Rohit Sharma's men for the title clash. The two sides took on each other on Thursday in a rain-curtailed 45 over-per-side match in Colombo.