‘Watched videos of Steve Smith and AB de Villiers,’ KL Rahul after match-winning innings in Rajkot
Given the intense competition for places in the opening slot, where Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are firmly established, it looks like KL Rahul will have to be flexible about his batting position despite the rich vein of form he is in.
“I get to learn so much about batting as an art when I get to bat at different positions, new ways to counter the bowlers, new ways to adjust to the situations, I don’t look at it is as pressure, just enjoy it,” said Rahul after starring in India’s 36-run win over Australia by scoring a 52-ball 80.
“It’s a great challenge, pretty confident about my skills. Any role (in the India team) is just a blessing, that’s how I look at it. I am more than willing to bat at any position for the team. It is a team game and anybody would do it for the team,” Rahul added.
Talking about his preparation for the switch, the Bengaluru player said he spoke to other middle order batsmen including Virat Kohli and watched videos of established middle order batsmen.
“I watched the videos of players like AB de Villiers, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson. Only thing is I adjusted my game to it. My game reading has also become much better.”
It is very difficult to leave out a player like KL Rahul and his 52-ball-80 is the “best that he has batted at the international level”, India captain Virat Kohli said after a series-levelling 36-run win against Australia here on Friday.
Skipper Kohli was even more happy that Rahul batted at No 5 and also kept wickets which will now give India some serious options moving forward. “It’s very important to figure out the best team you can put on the park and when you see how KL was batting today, it’s very difficult to leave someone like that out. Batting at No. 5 and batting like that for the team, this is probably the best he’s played at international level. That knocked showed maturity and class,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Asked about the change from the last game, the skipper said: “We live in the days of social media and the panic button was pressed too early. ....We know exactly what we’re doing in the dressing room. On the outside there’s a lot of panic that we don’t really focus on.”
Kohli was also happy that Shikhar Dhawan contributed a stylish 96, which he believes augurs well for the team. “Back to No. 3 was good for the team so I’m happy from that point of view that it helped the team. In ODI cricket, Shikhar has been one of our most consistent performers. I am very happy that he scored runs as well. It always augurs well when he and Rohit score runs.”