Aakash Chopra, a former Test opener feels that KL Rahul has a decent chance of playing some Test matches for India in England. Aakash Chopra believes the reason for this is that Team India has definite weaknesses in the batting department.
Aakash Chopra has opined that KL Rahul can fit in as an opener as well. However, since the think-tank has already decided his position, the Karnataka man will play in the middle-order if he is drafted into the XI.
Aakash Chopra: KL Rahul Will Definitely Get A Chance For Having Experience Of Playing In England
India has added Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw to their Test squad after subsequent injuries ruled out Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, and Avesh Khan. The Men in Blue’s batting has been wobbly of late, with the experienced trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane not scoring consistently.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra admitted that India could bring in KL Rahul to strengthen their batting line-up.
“KL Rahul has the experience of playing in English conditions. He has scored a Test hundred in England and got one in the warm-up match as well. He is now playing as a middle-order batsman. He can definitely get a chance. There is an opening in the middle-order, which is why Shaw and Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) have been added to the squad,” said Aakash Chopra.
“Team India have weaknesses in the batting. Abhimanyu Easwaran apparently doesn’t seem in good form. The opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma are yet to prove themselves in overseas conditions. One is not sure about Hanuma Vihari’s consistency with the bat. So looking at all the factors, KL Rahul can definitely get a look-in. I think he can play as an opener also but as of now it seems he will bat in the middle-order, if he plays,” said Aakash Chopra.
KL Rahul has scored 670 runs in 14 games in IPL 2020 and was the highest scorer and scored 331 runs in IPL 2021 as well in the first half. He played his last Test way back in 2019 August against and in West Indies. He has played 36 Tests and scored 2006 runs averaging 34.59 so far.
The 28-year-old batsman who can do wicket-keeping job as well debuted in 2014 in Tests and has featured in only 38 ODIs, 36 Tests, and 49 T20Is. In the last few Test series, his average was less than 30. His average was a dismal 7.5 against South Africa in 2018 and 11.4 against Australia in 2018 which led to his snub from Tests. KL Rahul featured in all five Tests during the tour of England in 2018.
KL Rahul Scored A Ton In The Last 5th Test Against England And Featured In A 204 Run Stand With Rishabh Pant
He had a torrid time in the first four Tests but redeemed himself with a century in the final match of the series at The Oval. KL Rahul scored 149 from 224 balls and featured in a 204-run stand with Rishabh Pant (114). India, however, went on to lose the Test by 118 runs. Set 464 for victory, they were all out for 345.
It was India’s fourth loss in the five-match series in England. KL Rahul finished the 2018 series with 299 runs at an average of 29.90. He last featured in a Test match for India against West Indies at Kingston in September 2019.
KL Rahul, on the other hand, is seen as an opener rather than a middle-order batsman. However, with Mayank Agarwal set to open with Rohit Sharma and if either falls early, KL Rahul will be facing the new ball anyway and could offer a realistic chance to fight back. That he is in fine form in the IPL and carried that in the warm-up match against Select County XI, slamming a century will offer Virat Kohli & Ravi Shastri hope.
However, what goes against him is his stats at No 3 in Test. While KL Rahul has been relatively successful as an opener, he hasn’t done well at No 3. In five innings at that position, he has averaged only 17.60 with just a 50 to his name. But at this point, India does not have an option other than backing KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari.