Cricket

K.L. Rahul first choice wicketkeeper: Anil Kumble

Anil Kumble, Kings XI Punjab coach.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

If a player is keeping wickets for 50-over games at a stretch, he ought to sight the ball better while batting. And K.L. Rahul is exactly doing that. Today, he is the first choice wicketkeeper for Team India in limited-overs and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

It will also be Rahul’s first IPL season as captain.

“I think K.L. will obviously take up ‘keeping and then, we will take it from there,” former India captain and Kings XI head coach Anil Kumble told Sportstar on Tuesday.

West Indies international Nicholas Pooran — who scored a 45-ball 100 in the Caribbean Premier League on Sunday — is the second ’keeper in the side.

Good equation

Kumble also feels his equation with Rahul over the years will help in decision-making.

“It was very important to choose the captain [for the season]. I have known K.L., seen him as a young kid growing up in Bengaluru, and as a cricketer. It’s his first season as skipper but he knows the team better than me. He has played here for two seasons. I think we have all the ingredients to build a solid team,” he said.

Rahul had kept wickets for Karnataka in the past but it was perhaps Kings XI that tuned him up as a smooth operator. The franchise had not picked a specialist ‘keeper in 2018 and the gloves were handed over to the explosive batsman instead.

India speedster Mohammed Shami will lead the Kings XI pace attack in the IPL. Kumble is impressed with the right-armer’s net sessions in Dubai.

Experience

“Shami is the experienced guy here. He has been brilliant over the last five or six days. He will be able to pass on his thoughts to the youngsters. I am looking at him not just for his skills, but also for his thoughts and information,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 7:13:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rahul-first-choice-keeper-kumble/article32499618.ece

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