Cricket

Rahul looking forward to leadership role

K.L. Rahul

K.L. Rahul

K.L. Rahul has had a fairytale ride in the last six months. From being a reserved opener in England who made the most of the opportunity he got in August due to a freakish injury in the nets to a teammate to leading India in two formats this month, Rahul wouldn’t have even dreamt of such a turnaround.

Add to that the recent developments and Rahul is being touted as a possible successor to Virat Kohli as India’s Test captain. The articulate batter stressed that the turnaround in his fortunes hasn’t affected him individually.

“The only difference is I think I have been spoken about a lot or there’s been a lot written about me. Other than that, I don’t think personally a lot has changed. I don’t see myself any differently,” Rahul said on Tuesday, hours before he will lead India in ODIs for the first time in the series-opener versus South Africa.

“I am not seeing the game any differently. I have always enjoyed playing the game and I have always wanted to go out there and enjoy my cricket as much as possible, be in a space where I give myself the best chance to do what is best for the team.

That has given me the most success and I want to continue to do that and not really think too much or put unnecessary pressure on myself. End of the day when I am batting in the middle, I’ll think as a batsman and when I am in the field if the captaincy role is given to me, I’ll try and do my best, trying to get the group together and most important thing will be for us to enjoy our cricket and enjoy playing together.”

With Rohit Sharma having been sidelined due to a hamstring injury, Rahul confirmed he will be opening the innings, with veteran Shikhar Dhawan as his ally.

“The last 14-15 months, I have batted at No. 5, No. 4, different positions. That’s what the team needed of me then. Now with Rohit not being here, I think I’ll bat at the top of the order,” Rahul said.

Venkatesh is likely to make his ODI debut.

Venkatesh is likely to make his ODI debut.

With India searching for a sixth bowling option who can bat in top six, Rahul hinted at a possible ODI debut for allrounder Venkatesh Iyer. “He has been very exciting since he has played for KKR and done really well over there. He joined us for the T20 series against New Zealand and did really well,” Rahul said.

“Fast-bowling allrounders are always an asset and we are always looking for them. They really balance the team out really well. It’s a great opportunity for him in South Africa. He has looked really good in the nets and really excited to see him.”


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 4:38:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rahul-looking-forward-to-leadership-role/article38288226.ece