Rajkot, Jan 18 : After being moved around the batting order and finding success yet again, KL Rahul said that working as a floater in India’s limited-overs line-up has helped him learn a lot about his game. Rahul has struggled to find a settled spot in the line-up. At last year’s World Cup, Rahul began at No.4, before being bumped up to open the innings with Rohit Sharma, after Shikhar Dhawan was struck down with injury.
Rahul forged a successful partnership with Rohit, something he maintained during the home series against Sri Lanka late last year. Dhawan returned for the Sri Lanka series that followed, but with Rohit being rested, Rahul continued to hold down one of the openers’ slots. That, however, changed in the Australia series, with both Rohit and Dhawan back in the side, as they reprised their time-tested partnership at the top of the order.
Rahul was given a run at No.3 in the series-opener in Mumbai, but with India slipping to a massive defeat, Virat Kohli returned at that spot in Rajkot. Rahul was pushed below even Shreyas Iyer for the second ODI, but it did not faze him, as he came out confidently and stroked his way to a free-flowing 80 off 52 balls that shored up India’s total and set up their series-levelling 36-run win. It was yet another case of Rahul showing his adaptability – he also kept wicket in Rishabh Pant’s absence – and he said he is up for the challenge, despite his preference for playing at the top of the order, an ICC report said. "Look I have always opened the batting.
That is the position, order I am most comfortable with, and I know how to build my innings,” Rahul said. “But I get to learn so much about my skills, about my batting... batting as an art when I get the chance to bat at 3 or 4 or 5," he said. "I'm kind of enjoying it [batting at different positions]. I'm finding new ways to counter bowlers, new ways to handle situations. I don't look at it as pressure, something that is an opportunity, and I will try to do the best I can,” Rahul said. Rahul said that having conversations with Kohli and watching videos of players such as Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and AB de Villiers, who have all had immense success batting in the middle order, helped him fine tune his game for the challenge.
"I just spoke a lot more to middle-order batsmen. I watched a lot of videos, I spoke a lot to Virat, watched a lot of videos of AB or Steve Smith, for that matter, on how they build their innings. Kane Williamson, who I have tried to go back and watch some of his videos to see how they build their innings, and how they play in certain situations. “Only thing I have tried is how to be better in certain situations. And reading of the game has got a lot better, now that I have played in different positions," he said. Rahul earned much praise for his work behind the stumps, which was overshadowed by his excellence with the bat.
But for a part-time ‘keeper, Rahul was excellent on Friday, barely fluffing a chance, and even pulled off a razor sharp stumping à la MS Dhoni to dismiss Aaron Finch. But the toughest part, he said, was keeping to Jasprit Bumrah. "Jasprit, I always felt when I used to bat against him in the IPL, I felt like the best place to be against Jasprit is behind the stumps,” he said. “But now that I have to keep wickets, it is still hard." “The way he bowls, swinging the ball both here and at the Wankhede, there is a bit of a wobble.
For somebody who isn't a regular keeper, that can be pretty hard, we have seen even for regular keepers, he is a nightmare to keep. But I am enjoying it. Try to read the situation and try to do the best for the team," Rahul added. (UNI)