KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Credits: Twitter)

Sarandeep Singh, the former Team India selector feels that batter KL Rahul’s form was affected after he became the captain of the Men in Blue.

KL Rahul, who is captaining India in the ODI series in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, has posted scores of 12 and 55 in the two ODIs against Proteas so far.

Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]
Sarandeep Singh[photo: sites.ndtv]

Sarandeep Singh: KL Rahul Is In Phenomenal Forn In The IPL But It Seems Captaincy Is Putting Pressure On Him In ODIs Against Proteas

India’s tame surrender to South Africa in the opening two ODIs and the failure of the middle-order in both matches have ignited a debate on whether KL Rahul should bat lower down the order instead of opening the innings.

KL Rahul was signed by Lucknow for INR 17 cr fee, making him the joint-record holder for the most-paid player in the IPL, tied with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player, Virat Kohli. Speaking about KL Rahul’s signing, Sanjiv Goenka mentioned the 29-year-old was always his choice. KL Rahul has been the best opener in IPL since 2018 and scored 659, 593, 670, and 626 runs in the past four seasons, respectively.

“He (Rahul) is in phenomenal form in the IPL. He is a great batter but somehow he is not able to do well on SA series. It seems captaincy is putting pressure on him. The way he freely played in the IPL. He is not playing it over there in SA. The question is before going to the IPL what is your form, but great players are in the form all the time,” Sarandeep Singh said.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

KL Rahul was picked by the Lucknow franchise for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League 2022. Apart from him, Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and Indian domestic spinner Ravi Bishnoi have also been picked by the same franchise.

“Definitely KL Rahul and Marcus Stoinis one of the best players Lucknow have retained. Especially Stoinis he is an all-rounder and he is a big hitter also. He can bat up the order as well as the middle order. He can bowl in slog overs. He can bowl with the new ball also. We all know what he can do in IPL matches,” Sarandeep Singh added.

Marcus Stoinis is a huge pick by the Lucknow team as he has been an integral part of the Delhi Capitals side over the past few seasons when the team qualified for their maiden IPL final (2020) and also made it to the knock-outs in the rest of the two seasons (2019 and 2021).

Impressive young spinner Ravi Bishnoi has been named as the third pick by Lucknow and the decision clearly has KL Rahul’s stamp all over it as Ravi Bishnoi had played and done well under KL Rahul’s captaincy for Punjab Kings.

Sarandeep Singh: If Hardik Pandya Bowls It Will Be Good For Him And Franchise

Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad franchise bought India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, and Indian domestic batter Shubman Gill.

“Great buys for Ahmadabad Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan. Rashid Khan we all know what he did with the also and Shubman Gill the domestic player they have bought it from such a good amount as well and he is worth all the money as we have seen when he plays for KKR he scored the fifties all the time.

“So, you know Shubman Gill can play for 10-12 overs and others will come around and play their shots,” said Sarandeep Singh.

Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan. (Photo: Twitter)
Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Rashid Khan. (Photo: Twitter)

“You don’t need to say anything about Hardik Pandya, we all know what he can do with the bat. The thing is whether he is bowling fit or not because there are a lot of stakes on him. If he only bats and does not bowl then it is not good for his international career also.

“I am not saying that he cannot play as a batter but as a batter he needs to bat up the order. But I hope if he starts bowling then it is better for him as well as for the franchise and we need Hardik Pandya for the Indian squad,” Sarandeep Singh added.

IPL’s two new teams — Sanjiv Goenka RPSG Group for the Lucknow franchise and CVC Capital’s Ahmedabad team had received formal clearance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The formal clearance was given after a meeting of the IPL Governing Council. IPL chairman Brijesh Patel had also confirmed that the IPL auction would be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13.

“Yes, the auction will be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13,” said Patel.

Meanwhile taking about the ODI series in South Africa, with the series already lost, India might want to test their bench strength in the dead rubber in Cape Town.

In the first two games, the bowlers managed to pick just seven wickets with experienced picks like Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar looking toothless against the opposition. The likes of bowlers Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Jayant Yadav, Navdeep Saini, and Deepak Chahar have been waiting in the wings for their first game of the series.