KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

Gautam Gambhir, who mentored the KL Rahul-led Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2022 earlier this year, said the batter should be allowed to play freely. Under KL Rahul, LSG bowed out in the Eliminator, going down to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 14 runs.

Team India endured a disappointing campaign in the 2022 Asia Cup as the side was knocked out in the Super 4 stages of the tournament. However, even as the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team failed to make it to the final, there was a glaring positive for the side – the return of Virat Kohli’s form.

The Indian batter finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the continental tournament with 276 runs in five matches at a brilliant strike rate of 147.59. Virat Kohli also ended a long wait for a century, as he remained unbeaten on 122 in the side’s final match against Afghanistan in Dubai.

Virat Kohli // Getty
Virat Kohli // Getty

Gautam Gambhir Reckons KL Rahul Will Feel Insecure After Failing In Asia Cup 2022

However, former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who has worked closely with KL Rahul during their respective stints as mentor and skipper respectively at the Indian Premier League’s new franchise Lucknow Super Giants, stated that people seem to have forgotten the contributions of KL Rahul over the past few years.

Virat Kohli had opened the innings against Afghanistan alongside KL Rahul in that game, as captain Rohit Sharma opted to rest.

Following the innings, there were debates over Virat Kohli taking over the opening role alongside Rohit Sharma in the Indian batting order; the discussions were fuelled by KL Rahul’s poor form since his return to the international setup last month. In the Asia Cup, the Indian opener scored 132 runs in five matches at a strike rate of 122.22.

“You know what happens in India? The moment someone starts doing very well… for example, when Virat Kohli scored a hundred in the last game.

“We all start forgetting what Rahul and Rohit have done over a long period of time. When you talk about Kohli opening the batting, imagine what happens to KL Rahul?” 

“Imagine the amount of insecurity he must be feeling. Imagine if he gets a low score in the first game, there will be another debate on whether Kohli should open in the next game,” Gautam Gambhir said during a virtual press conference ahead of India’s three-match T20I series against Australia.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. Pic Credit: Twitter

“You don’t want your top class players in that position, especially KL Rahul who has probably got more ability than Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli.

“Imagine KL Rahul going into the World Cup thinking, ‘what if I don’t score runs against Pakistan? What if I get replaced by Virat Kohli?’ You don’t want that,” Gautam Gambhir further said.

Returning from a long injury layoff post the IPL 2022, KL Rahul is yet to hit the straps and has scored one half-century from seven innings. In the Asia Cup 2022, he averaged 26.40, with 132 runs from five innings.

Gautam Gambhir Reckons Rohit Sharma Will Have Felt Insecure Like KL Rahul If He Wasn’t Captain

The former India opener also said that Rohit Sharma might be having similar insecurities over his role if he hadn’t been the captain of the side.

“That’s the reason we shouldn’t entertain that question. Think from India’s point of view. Think from KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma’s point of view. Well, Rohit is the captain right now. Imagine if he was not the captain, what would he have felt? Everything falls down on KL Rahul,” said Gautam Gambhir.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“We should start thinking about how India can flourish, rather than certain individuals.”

While Rohit Sharma managed 133 runs in 4 T20Is in Asia Cup 2022, KL Rahul managed 132 runs in 5 T20Is in Asia Cup 2022 averaging 33.25 and 26.4 respectively. Both scored a fifty each but India was ousted from Asia Cup 2022. Amid the growing call that Virat Kohli should open the innings in T20Is, skipper Rohit Sharma on Sunday said it could be a possibility.

In fact, Virat Kohli’s return to form in the recently-concluded Asia Cup 2022 that coincided with KL Rahul’s inconsistency at the top, has had a section of experts demanding the Delhi batter be pushed up the order keeping in mind the ICC T20I World Cup in October. However, the Indian captain continues to repose faith in KL Rahul.