KL Rahul scored his first ton in blue jersey (one-day cricket) since his ODI debut as he played an innings of 1088 off 99 against Bangladesh in the warm-up game. Ironically, the records of warmup games are not counted.
Hence, Rahul did not add to his tally of tons in one-day cricket but with his innings, he booked his place at the number 4 batting position, that might have had slipped away after he failed against New Zealand in the first warm-up match.
The right-handed batsman took the burden at the start and propelled the team ahead from a tough situation. Men in Blue were 50/2 when he came out to bat but wickets of Virat Kohli and Vijay Shankar saw Bangladesh bounce back. India were 102/4 and the game could have gone anywhere from that point.
It was then when Rahul and MS Dhoni joined forces to share 164 runs for the fifth wicket. Rahul’s brilliance included 12 fours and four sixes. The right-handed batsman talked about the game after the match and also revealed how his time away from the game helped him.
“The time off from game does give a player opportunity to reflect on himself and it wasn’t any different for me,” he said.
“I spent some time with friends and family. It was important as I have been on the road for a long time. Given the situation, that’s not how I would have liked to get some time off but anyway I tried to make the best use of it,” he added.
It is to be noted that Rahul and Hardik Pandya were suspended by BCCI at the start of the year for their comments on a talk show. They were sent back to India from Australia ahead of the ODI series as well. Pandya was recalled during New Zealand series, but Rahul was asked to play for India A.
He made his comeback for Australia series and did well for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2019, that saw Rahul keeping his place in the World Cup squad. He scored 593 runs in the T20 league.
Rahul was selected as the reserve opener in the World Cup squad but there seems to be a change in plans and now, he looks set to bat at number four during the tournament.
One of the worries for team India will be that he hasn’t played much ODI cricket in past one year. He was only given a chance in one game during home Australia series and prior to that, he only played one ODI back in Asia Cup 2018.