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After IPL success, Rahul aims to make mark in one-dayers

sports Updated: Jun 08, 2016 13:29 IST

MUMBAI: For a long time, KL Rahul was perceived as a batsman suited to the longer format of the game. It was a perception reinforced by his performances in the Ranji Trophy for Karnataka.

The recently- concluded Indian Premier League season, however, has gone a long way in establishing his credentials as a batsman who can also make the cut in limited-overs cricket.

The 24-year-old scored 397 runs in 12 innings at an average of 44.11 to get himself noticed in a batting line-up which included heavyweights like AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and Shane Watson.

“Once I got the starts in the first two matches, I forgot about things like stats and what people say about me being a longer format player,” Rahul told reporters a day ahead of Indian team’s departure for Zimbabwe. Rahul added that he didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the IPL as he was coming back from an injury.

Success in a slam-bang format like T20 for batsmen can often depend on innovation in shot-making. Rahul, however, stuck to his strength of playing shots which are in the book — proper cricketing shots that had served him well in Ranji Trophy matches. Advice from the likes of Kohli and De Villiers helped as well.

Now, he is looking forward to picking the brains of India skipper MS Dhoni in the African nation, where India play three ODIs and as many T20Is.

Rahul kept wickets for RCB in the recently-concluded IPL.

“I will have to work a little harder on wicketkeeping. I will get some time with Dhoni in Zimbabwe and my plan is to try to work with him on my wicketkeeping skills and see what feedback he has for me,” Rahul added.

Having represented India in five Tests, Rahul will be making his debut in the shorter format in Zimbabwe. The only question that remains is what position he will play at. For Karnataka, he has played in the top order, while he dropped lower down for RCB.

“I’m just happy to be in the playing XI. It doesn’t matter where I play,” Rahul said.

The Indian youngsters are in a situation where succeeding against a team like Zimbabwe is expected. Failure can spell doom for their ambition to represent India again. Rahul said that the team will not take Zimbabwe lightly.

“We don’t know what we are up against. I’ll go there and assess the wickets and conditions,” Rahul added.

First Published: Jun 08, 2016 13:29 IST