KL Rahul after his century in Centurion. Photo- AFP
KL Rahul after his century in Centurion. Photo- AFP

Shaun Pollock and Dinesh Karthik have rated stand-in captain KL Rahul’s leadership skills after two days of play in the ongoing second India vs South Africa Test.

KL Rahul got the opportunity to captain after both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were ruled out from the Test due to injuries and Ajinkya Rahane wasn’t trusted enough for the role because of his recent batting form. In his short tenure, he has seen India bowl the hosts out for 229 and takes a lead of 58 runs after stumps on Day 2.

KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock Feels KL Rahul Had Faced Challenges Well In His 1st Test As Skipper While Dinesh Karthik Feels His Good Form Helped In Captaincy

The former Proteas pacer Shaun Pollock was impressed with KL Rahul’s composure against challenges like Mohammed Siraj’s injury and Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami’s brilliant but wicket-less spells.

In this regard, Shaun Pollock said:  “I think he’s been good. He’s had a few challenges, hasn’t he? I mean Siraj getting injured, that’s never easy as a captain when one of your lead bowlers goes missing in action… He would have been scratching his head a little bit after the first session today. The bowlers were brilliant… but as a captain you do feel when you don’t pick wickets, ‘What more am I supposed to do? … Do I have to think out of the box?’ And I don’t think he did and eventually, he got the reward just before Lunch.”

Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaun Pollock (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaun Pollock also liked KL Rahul’s use of Ravichandran Ashwin and his possible encouraging chats with Shardul Thakur, who bowled a magnificent spell of 7/61. Shaun Pollock said the Karnataka lad has “ticked a lot of boxes”, adding that it will be interesting to see how he handles the final innings of the Test. Shaun Pollock had also praised Shardul Thakur’s wicket-taking ability earlier.

Shaun Pollock said: “The way he used Ashwin was OK, he got him to look in and see if there was any assistance. You never know what goes behind the scenes but obviously, some conversations with Shardul Thakur were important and he got him to believe, kept him going… So I would say he’s ticked a lot of boxes, no problems there whatsoever. It’s going to be interesting next time around. Can he manage his troops to victory, no matter what score they get?”

In the same video, Dinesh Karthik said in-form stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s good batting form has helped his captaincy. Dinesh Karthik also hailed his bowling changes, lauding how the opening-batter never lets his emotions out on the field.

Dinesh Karthik said: “I think he’s handled it well. Obviously, he’s in good batting form which helps. Just the moves that he made… his thought process was right… He’s always looked like a calm and composed captain. He’s a pretty emotional character per se but it never comes out in the field.”

KL Rahul is indeed in good form, currently leading the series charts with 204 runs at an average of 51. However, he failed to cross double digits for the first time in the series on Tuesday, getting out for 8 against Marco Jansen.

Dinesh Karthik Opens Up On Rishabh Pant’s Controversial Catch To Dismiss Rassie van der Dussen

Earlier also there was a caught behind appeal which was not taken cleanly by Rishabh Pant. Dinesh Karthik also opined on the small controversy that unfolded when Rassie van der Dussen was given out caught behind by Rishabh Pant at the stroke of lunch.  The batter walked back immediately after seeing the umpire’s finger go up but slow-motion replays later suggested that it might have bounced off the ground.
Later, South African Test skipper Dean Elgar reportedly met match officials to discuss the incident as well. Dinesh Karthik, a ‘keeper himself, explained that it wouldn’t have been easy for Rishabh Pant to know it. Dinesh Karthik feels that even when HD images can’t give conclusive evidence, it’s better to just stick with the fielder’s word and the on-field umpires’ judgment.
Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant | Twitter

Dinesh Karthik said: “As soon as you get your head away it’s hard to see the ball and because you have a glove there which obviously has a lot of leather in it … what it does is the impact on the ground is not seen so you are not sure if it has come into the gloves or just bounced off the ground and this happens a lot… And in spite of all the HD technology and everything it’s really hard (to judge) so we have to, as a thumb rule, go with what the fielder says and on top of that we have two umpires there [so] trust them…”

Shardul Thakur’s seven-wicket haul however couldn’t stop South Africa from taking a 27-run first-innings lead but India started their second innings positively and was 85 for 2 – ahead by 58 – at stumps on day two of the second Test in Johannesburg.

India 202 and 85 for 2 (Pujara 35*, Rahane 11*, Jansen 1-18) lead South Africa 229 (Petersen 62, Bavuma 51, Thakur 7-61) by 58 runs