'Too many players contending for that spot...': Rayudu's big warning to KL Rahul to stay in reckoning for T20 WC squad | Crickit
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'Too many players contending for that spot...': Rayudu's big warning to KL Rahul to stay in reckoning for T20 WC squad

ByAditya Maheshwari
Apr 09, 2024 06:31 AM IST

KL Rahul has impressed many with his calm captaincy but failed as a batter thus far with just 126 runs in 4 matches at an underwhelming strike rate of 128.57.

The race is on amongst the Indian players for getting their tickets booked to the USA and West Indies for the T20 World Cup in June this year. The selection committee has a big dilemma ahead of themselves to pick the 15-member squad with almost double in the contention. Superstars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah look like absolute certainties, while other players are trying hard to showcase their talent in the ongoing season of IPL.

KL Rahul has not been at his best with the bat in IPL 2024.(AFP)
KL Rahul has not been at his best with the bat in IPL 2024.(AFP)

Senior batter KL Rahul, who was an integral part of India's ODI World Cup team last year, is lagging behind in the race for a place in the squad for the T20 WC. The flamboyant wicketkeeper last played a T20I for India way back in 2022 during the last edition of the T20 WC in Australia. Following India's exit in the semi-final he was left out of the T20 set-up due to continuous criticism regarding his strike rate.

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However, it seems like nothing has changed for him as his strike rate in IPL 2024 thus far has been sluggish. The 30-year-old has not been able to up the ante for his side in the middle-overs which makes his case worsen for a place in the mega ICC event.

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The LSG skipper has impressed many with his calm captaincy but failed as a batter thus far with just 126 runs in four matches at an underwhelming strike rate of 128.57. He has scored just one half-century this season but that too came in the losing cause against Rajasthan Royals.

Meanwhile, batting at the opening slot has made things trickier for him for the WC spot as there is a traffic jam in the Indian team's top order and it's highly likely for Rahul to make way for himself there. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill are the top contenders at the moment for the top order with Ruturaj Gaikwad also waiting in the wings.

Former Indian batter and six-time IPL-winning star Ambati Rayudu also said in a selected media interaction that the only way for Rahul to stay in contention for the T20 WC spot is by moving down to number 3 or 4 spot in the batting order.

"He still has to get back into form. I feel he should be batting slightly maybe number 3 or 4 if he has to really get into the India side and stay in the reckoning for the T20 World Cup squad because there are already too many openers who are contending for the spot," Ambati Rayadu replied to Hindustan Times query during Star Sports Press Room.

The former CSK and MI star further asserted that batting at number 4 will help Rahul in terms of both - a comeback in the T20I set-up and solidifying Lucknow's middle order.

"Ideally, he should be batting at number 4 and it will be good for LSG as well if he can do that, come in the middle overs and really play till the end that's what the Indian team needs as well," Rayudu added.

The strike rate has become a big chink in the armoury for Rahul in the past few years as despite having a solid technique and all the right cricketing shots in the book, he tends to go in a shell which makes things worse for him.

The 30-year-old also had a tough time batting at Ekana Stadium on Sunday against Gujarat Titans where he scored 33 runs off 31 balls at a strike rate of 106.45. He looked in decent touch and smashed Spencer Johnson for three boundaries in an over during the powerplay but as the game progressed he went into a shell and failed to up the ante in the middle overs.

He started off the innings with a strike rate of 120 in the first 10 balls which remained stagnated in the next 10 deliveries. But things only went downhill for him as his strike rate dropped to 82 from 21 to 31 balls. While in the attempt to break the shackles, Rahul played a false shot and got caught by Rahul Tewatia.

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