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When MS Dhoni almost ‘killed’ KL Rahul

KL Rahul, who notched up his second Twenty20 International fifty on his comeback, is puzzled as to why there is so much speculation on MS Dhoni’s future in the Indian national cricket team.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 21, 2017 10:37 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Cuttack
India vs Sri Lanka,India national cricket team,MS Dhoni
KL Rahul smashed his second fifty on his comeback but is puzzled about the constant speculation on MS Dhoni’s future in the Indian national cricket team. (AFP)

Incredulity writ large on his face, KL Rahul asked ‘what lack of form’? The questioner had quizzed him about talk on MS Dhoni’s future, of the kind that eddies every now and then. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA HIGHLIGHTS)

“He almost killed me with that shot,” said Rahul, breaking into a smile as he referred to a stunning drive off spinner Akila Dananjaya that forced the non-striker to jump out of harm’s way. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA SCORECARD)

“He is in great shape. I don’t know what form you are talking about. Every time I have played with him or see him on TV, he scores runs. The last time we played here, he got a big hundred (ODI against England where Dhoni got 150 in 127 balls).

“I see him as motivated in the dressing room as I always have. He is contributing in every game, is someone we look up to. He is a match winner,” said Rahul, who top-scored with 61 (48b, 4x7, 1x6).

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About his innings, Rahul said: “Every innings is important and given the kind of competition we have, you need to make every opportunity count. I am happy it came off today.”

Rahul attributed his dismissal (bowled by Thisara Perera) to a wrong shot while trying to accelerate. “We had only five overs after that and I was the set batsman, so I had to take a few chances. Maybe, it was the wrong shot. Maybe, the next time I play that shot it goes for a six.”

MS Dhoni played an aggressive cameo to boost India to 180/3 as India thrashed Sri Lanka by 93 runs. ( AFP )

Rahul, who has a century in all formats of international cricket, said it took him a while to realise he needed to stay true to his game to be successful.

“I have been successful when I have played shots I believe I am blessed with or am good at playing. It did take me a long time but I realised that with my game, I can be successful in T20s. Every player needs one of two innings in whatever format to realise that he is good enough. Once I got that, I tried harder and harder to be more consistent.”

The Cuttack wicket, Rahul felt, was spongy and it stayed that way through the evening.

Disappointed Tharanga

Upul Tharanga said the way Sri Lanka batted made the 93-run defeat hard to swallow.

“It sort of dropped us back to where we were some four months ago,” he said. “We should have batted 20 overs.”

Tharanga said Sri Lanka pulled things back well with the ball midway through the India innings but bowled “too many boundary balls, especially at the end and that shifted the momentum towards India.”

Asked how difficult it is for Sri Lanka to continue the tour given that they have been at the receiving end almost throughout, Tharanga said: “It’s tough to be in the losing side but we still have to show some fight. We did all right in the one-day series but here we are disappointed.”

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 23:44 IST