IPL 2018: KL Rahul ready to step into dual role at Kings XI Punjab
KL Rahul may have to keep wickets after Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) failed to rope in a specialist wicket-keeper at the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions but the India international is willing to take up the challenge.cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2018 23:16 IST
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) had the biggest purse in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions. And while it did allow them to make some good buys, somehow the team management missed a trick by not going for a specialist wicket-keeper.
Now with two days to go for their first IPL match against Delhi Daredevils (DD), KXIP will be looking at KL Rahul to shoulder the additional responsibility of being a wicket-keeper. Though it will not be the first time Rahul will be asked to don the gloves, the fact that he is fairly irregular at this might cause the team a few concerns.
Rahul kept wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2016, his breakthrough year where he scored 397 runs averaging 44.11 with four half-centuries. More importantly though, he took five catches and had four stumpings to his name. Rahul has kept for Karnataka as recently as their Vijay Hazare final against Saurashtra.
Rahul admits that it will take a toll, especially in a two-month long tournament that has few breaks and lots of travelling but said he is ready to step into the role. “This won’t be the first time that I am taking on a dual responsibility. It will be hard on the body, as I don’t keep regularly through the year but that’s what you do seeing the demand of the team. You can take it up as a challenge and work on keeping. It’s a team sport and you have to be ready to take up the role that the team wants,” Rahul said, who missed the entire 2017 IPL season due to injury.
“I am looking forward to be behind the stumps, sharing my feedback with captain, and try and score also for the team,” he added.
Rahul averages 45.45 in 15 T20 internationals and has a highest score of 110 but is yet to cement his place in all three formats. He last played an ODI in August 2017, while in Tests and T20s he has been in and out of the side. Rahul said this IPL his focus will be more on winning matches rather than trying to impress someone or showcase his talent.
“I am with a new team and want to focus on winning. With a kind of competition around team India, I don’t think anybody is a sure shot. So my focus will be rather on my team,” he said.