'It is necessary to get confidence': Virender Sehwag explains Virat Kohli's role in making KL Rahul a brilliant batsman
India batsman KL Rahul became the topic of discussion during the recently-concluded T20I series against England, although for the wrong reasons. Rahul had a poor run with the bat, scoring figures of 1, 0, 0 and, 14 in the first four matches, before being rested for the final one.
But Rahul has shown time and time again that he knows how to bounce back and that is exactly what he did in the 50-overs format. Rahul smashed a brisk fifty in the first ODI, helping India to a solid total of 317.
The Karnataka batsman followed it up with a century in the 2nd ODI against England on Friday. Even though India lost the match, Rahul's batting received widespread praise.
Speaking on Cricbuzz, Sehwag explained how Rahul's mentality has shifted in the ODIs because of him batting in the middle-order, instead of opening the innings.
"When the openers come out to bat, the thought process is to cash in the first 10 overs. So, you get less time for yourself. Whenever I use to open the innings, I always use to think about whether I can make an impact in the first 10 overs, and cash in during the powerplay," Sehwag said.
"So, maybe that is the mentality of the openers. But when you bat in the middle overs, the thought is that I cannot forcefully hit boundaries because the field is open. So, I have to play in the gaps and score ones and twos, hit loose balls, and build a partnership. So that is different thinking. It is a difference in mindset," Sehwag explained.
The former India opener further credited India captain Virat Kohli for trying out Rahul at various positions, which helped him in becoming the batsman he is today.
"KL Rahul has played at almost every slot. He might be one of the favourites batsmen of captain, hence he has tried to adjust him in every batting position. That is necessary, when a new player comes in, to make him a part of the playing XI," Sehwag said.
"Even if you play him at no. 11, but you have to play them to give them confidence. India captain Virat Kohli has a huge role in making KL Rahul the great batsman he is today," he added.