KL Rahul, who has made a comeback following a run-drought in the top-flight cricket for the Team India, is eager to find a rhythm in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup. Meanwhile, former Indian paceman Ashish Nehra believes Rahul’s return augurs well for him while smashing a half-century in the opener of the two-match Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) of an ongoing India vs Australia 2019 series on Sunday (February 24) in Vizag.
Also, the left-arm fast bowler Nehra feels the recent performance of 36-ball 50 would boost the morale of Rahul following a dismal show in Test series Down Under. He added Rahul would take anything in his stride.
During his paced-up innings, Rahul smashed six fours and a six to provide an early impetus. But on the other side with a cluster of wickets falling, the Men in Blue could have enough to take the total to a par score.
In between, Dhoni steadied the ship, but he faced criticism for his slow innings of 37-ball 29 in Visakhapatnam.
Rahul did what the doctor ordered:
Moreover, the 39-year-old Nehra retired from all forms of cricket in November 2017 while facing New Zealand in the T20I fixture at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. He cited the reason that skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri are aiming to see Rahul delivering according to the expectations.
“Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri rested Shikhar Dhawan hoping KL Rahul to come good. That is what exactly KL Rahul did. It was a good half-century,” Nehra told CricketNext.
Considering the low-scoring game, Nehra reiterated Rahul’s knock has emerged as a highlight in Indian innings. He added the batsmen have struggled to score runs on the surface including the visitors’ batters.
“But, the way his form in the recent months, he would take that. For me, It was the most positive point for me in this game. Because, it was a low-scoring game. Also, batsman found it tough to get their runs on the board,” Nehra added,
In the first T20I, the hosts huffed and puffed to post 126 for seven in 20 allotted overs. The visitors overhauled the target on final delivery of the game when Pat Cummins scampered for a couple. Eventually, it helped Australia to lead the T20I series 1-0.
India wanted Rahul to continue following a fifty:
Furthermore, Nehra stressed that Rahul would be dejected on not continuing after slamming his fifth overall T20I fifty. Nehra added as the team was in dire straits they would have wanted him to take the team tally anything beyond 150-run mark.
Also, it was Rahul’s overall 18th half-century of his T20 career.
“Definitely, KL Rahul would have disappointed at that time. Because India needed him to carry on and cross 150 runs on the board,” Nehra signed off.
In the unofficial fixtures for India A against visiting England Lions, Rahul put up a decent show. On February 15, broke into India’s limited-overs squad to face Australia led by Aaron Finch.
The second T20I between India and Australia will commence from February 27 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.