KL Rahul Backed By Virat Kohli As He Is A Champion Player

KL Rahul Backed By Virat Kohli As He Is A Champion Player

Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP
Virat Kohli, KL Rahul | Photo Credit: AP

KL Rahul was clean bowled by England pacer Mark Wood for a four-ball duck in the 3rd T20I against England but India captain Virat Kohli felt the opener is a ‘champion player’ and it is just a matter of time before the batsman finds his form back.

He may have registered consecutive ducks in the last two matches, but KL Rahul has received the backing of India captain Virat Kohli, who feels the batsman is a ‘champion player’ in T20 cricket and continues to be one of the key India batsmen along with Rohit Sharma at the top.

KL Rahul receives strong backing from Virat Kohli, Vikram Rathour after run of low scores
KL Rahul receives strong backing from Virat Kohli, Vikram Rathour after a run of low scores| Reuters

KL Rahul’s Stats In The Last 2-3 Years Better Than Anyone In T20I: Virat Kohli

Despite scoring 0, 1, 0 in his last three T20I matches for India prior to the England game on Tuesday, Virat Kohli and India persisted with KL Rahul, even if it meant leaving out 2nd T20I debutant Suryakumar Yadav.

With Rohit Sharma returning, India opted to push Ishan Kishan at No. 3. This meant that Virat Kohli himself sacrificed his preferred spot and batted at No. 4 on Tuesday. Although the opener was clean bowled by Mark Wood for a four-ball duck, Virat Kohli feels it is just a matter of time before the batsman finds his groove back.

Mark Wood
Mark Wood starred for England side as he took three wickets as they reduced India for 87/5 in 15 overs | Photo: BCCI

“I was going through a lean patch about two games ago. He (Rahul) has been a champion player. If you look at his stats in the last 2-3 years, they are probably better than anyone in T20,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony after England beat India by eight wickets to take a 2-1 lead.

KL Rahul has not looked in any sort of rhythm whatsoever in the three T20Is against England so far but India batting coach Vikram Rathour said ‘anybody can have a lean phase’ and a few cheap dismissals don’t change the fact he is India’s ‘best’ in T20s.

KL Rahul Is Ranked No. 3 In T20I Ranking

KL Rahul averages 40.61 in T20Is and has already hit 2 T20I tons. KL Rahul has ranked No. 3 in ICC T20I ranking even ahead of likes of Virat Kohli(ranked 6th) and Rohit Sharma(ranked 14th).

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Twitter

KL Rahul became the fifth India batsman in history to register back-to-back ducks in T20Is. Before him, Ambati Rayudu, Ashish Nehra, Yusuf Pathan have been dismissed for consecutive ducks, while Washington Sundar is the only player to have recorded a hat-trick of ducks.

Mark Wood picked 3 wickets conceding 31 runs as India managed 156/6 with Virat Kohli top-scoring with an unbeaten 77 of 46 balls. Jos Buttler scored 52 balls 83 and remained unbeaten as England chased down the target in the 19th over.

KL Rahul has had scores of 1,0 and 0 and a part of it could be attributed to no game time since the end of the T20 series in Australia in early December. With his second successive duck, KL Rahul equals an unwanted record for the most number of ducks in a T20I series/tournament by an Indian. Ashish Nehra got out for two ducks at the ICC T20 World Cup while Ambati Rayudu was dismissed for two ducks in a T20I series against South Africa in 2015.

KL Rahul, who was in fine form in T20Is before the Covid-19 pandemic, has not been in the best of forms. After scoring a fifty and a 30-plus score in Australia, he has managed scores of 0, 1, 0, 0 in his next four T20Is. The move of KL Rahul opening alongside Rohit Sharma did not work as India not just lost KL Rahul for 0 but also slipped to 24 for 3 at the end of the powerplay.

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