KL Rahul, India’s white-ball skipper on Wednesday, said he would be happy to keep wickets in the next three global ICC events if given an opportunity even though the team management has not yet spoken to him about it.
KL Rahul has now edged ahead of specialist wicketkeepers Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson as the no.1 wicket-keeper in the limited-overs format.
KL Rahul: Team Given Option Of Playing An Extra Bowler Or Batsman If My Performance Is Satisfactory With Bat And Gloves
Three ICC events including two back-to-back T20 World Cups in 2021 in India and 2022 in Australia followed by the marquee ODI World Cup in 2023 which will be a 50 overs affair are scheduled in the next three years.
The 28-year-old wicket-keeper does provide the team with the option of having an extra batsman or bowler.
“It helps the the team combination a little more and it’s something I would love to do…if the opportunity presents itself and I can keep in three World Cups, I would love to do it for my country,” Rahul said in response to a query from PTI ahead of the limited-overs series against Australia starting November 27.
The management though haven’t told anything in respect to future and India have talented wicket-keepers like Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant too but the duo are yet to make a name for themselves in the limited opportunities provided to them in limited-overs.
“Nothing has been told to me and we are not thinking that far as a team. Obviously World Cups are important and that is a long-term vision for every team and country,” he said.
“I think for me, we are just taking one game at a time. So if I put up consistent performances with bat and gloves, it gives us an option of playing an extra bowler or an extra batter,” said the stylish Karnataka batsman.
In the ODIs, KL Rahul has been batting at no.5 and has opened in the T20I Internationals, and he admitted that his position in the line-up will depend on formats.
“What the team wants from me and what combination sits better. Obviously, the last ODI series (against New Zealand) that we played, I batted at no.5, it’s a role that I have enjoyed and (I am) happy to play whatever role the team gives me,” said Rahul.
KL Rahul scored 204 runs in 3 games in ODIs in the last tour to New Zealand while his averages have never dropped below 25 after 2018-19 Asia Cup in ODIs. He averaged more than 45 in the last 4 series including 2019 World Cup.
KL Rahul: Nobody Can Fill Legendary MS Dhoni’s Place After His Recent Retirement
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s keeping was in a different league altogether, and the way he guided spinners went a long way in India’s white-ball success.
The onus now falls on the likes of KL Rahul to show their talent behind the gloves against potent spin attack.
“Look obviously, nobody can fill MS Dhoni’s place. He has shown us the way and how the wicketkeeper-batman role is performed. I will go and give them (spinners) feedback as to what is a better length if they are doing something wrong and anybody in the wicketkeeper’s role will have that responsibility,” he said.
KL Rahul loved the role of an ODI keeper against New Zealand and hopes to continue with the good work.
“I did one series in New Zealand and quite enjoyed it and hopefully I can be better at reading the game and give bowlers and captains some good feedback for the bowlers and the captain,” he said.
KL Rahul was given an idea of what he can expect in terms of pressure and workload as he captained and kept wickets apart from opening the batting for KXIP when he dons the India jersey in Rohit Sharma’s absence. Rohit Sharma is absent for nursing his hamstring injury and will miss the limited-overs series and 2 tests.
“I did get a little bit of a feel with the IPL. I had to play a similar role there. It was challenging, new, got used to the role and started enjoying it. Yeah, hopefully I will continue the same over here, ” said KL Rahul.
The IPL captaincy, he said, has also taught him how to stay in the moment by focusing on batting and as a keeper and not think as a captain all time.
“Something, I learnt from the IPL is how to stay in the moment. While batting, think as a batter and see how I can win the game as batter. As a keeper, in the last 3-4 seconds, when the bowler is running in, you do not think as a leader. This is important going ahead for me,” said KL Rahul.
The 14-day quarantine in Australia has been challenging as KL Rahul admitted and he felt a lot better when he got together with his teammates for training.
“Challenge has been being in the room alone. The time you practice, meet teammates, is the best time in the day.”
KL Rahul has played 36 Tests, 32 ODIs and 42 T20Is. In ODIs, he averages above 45 scoring 1239 runs.