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‘Lot of things I’m doing right’ – KL Rahul wants to build on his improvements

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

KL Rahul, the India batsman, has played 34 Tests and scored nearly 2000 runs but is yet to cement his place in the Test side. More often than not, the opener has been able to give India good starts but has been unable to convert them into big scores.

In both the innings of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua, Rahul could manage scores of only 44 and 38. Since the beginning of 2018, the right-hander’s form has suffered. He has only a fifty and a century in the last one and half years and an average that is just a shade over 23. While his starts have been promising, his failure to convert has been nothing short of “disappointing” by his own admission.

Speaking at the press conference at the end of day three on Saturday, August 24, Rahul said, “[I’m] very disappointed. But there are a lot of things I’m doing right, lot of positives too. I just have to keep my head down and show some more patience. I just have to prolong the good things I’m doing till I get to 35 or 45.

“I’ve been batting well, I’ve looked comfortable in both the innings, my head space and everything is very good. I’m happy about a lot of things, just if I can keep my patience and keep batting the way I do in the first 60-80 balls, if I continue to do that for 200-250 balls then it’ll obviously benefit me and the team. That’s what I’ll look to do next match.”

Rahul, who was looking good in both the innings of the Antigua Test, was dismissed by Roston Chase both times. He lamented his shot selection against Chase in the second innings when he went for a paddle sweep and missed the ball entirely as it went on to crash the middle and off stumps.

An absolutely livid Rahul walked off the field after the audacious stroke but later admitted that he was only trying to unnerve the spinner. “Sometimes when you play a sweep or a paddle sweep there is a certain percentage of premeditation in it. You have played the off-spinner for a bit, 5-6 overs, and I knew the lines that he was bowling, he was outside off. I was thinking boundary and not thinking about getting lbw or anything. I was thinking about runs.

“Since I had hit him for a boundary before that ball I knew he would try to bowl a better length which is easier for me to paddle. But unfortunately I didn’t execute the shot really well. If I had put bat on the ball it would have probably gone for a four and then that would have put a lot more pressure on the bowler.”

Rahul also spoke highly of Ajinkya Rahane [53*] and skipper Virat Kohli [51*], who rescued India with a century-stand for the fourth wicket after they were 81-3 in the 31st over.

“We know that they’re really good batsmen, very skilled, so once they are set they will get a lot of runs and that’s what they did. Now at the end of the day the scoreboard looks very good, hopefully we can come out tomorrow and they can continue for a longer time,” he concluded.

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