Most of KL Rahul’s interactions and interviews mentioned how disappointed he was at missing out on scoring big runs after getting starts. Every time he left the field after getting out, one saw that at the face of the Indian opener. He knew that he had made a mistake and thrown it away.
The first instance of this was in Pune. Rahul had made an decent half-century but, playing a reckless shot, he was caught at deep cover. He sat down on the pitch just after hitting the shot, holding his shoulder in pain. His 61 runs in the first innings and 10 in the second could not helped India avoid a 333-run defeat.
Though the pitch in Pune and Banglaore weren’t actually similar, but there was nothing drastically different about them. But, Rahul showed a change in approach, playing a far more contained innings, especially after restricting his shot-making due to his shoulder injury. He scored 90 and 51 in that match. His scores in the following innings were 67, 60 and 51* and he scored a total of 393 run in the four-match series at an average at 61, the best among Indian batsmen.
Not only did he protect one end from the start of the innings, Rahul displayed great maturity in reading the match situation. Playing the matches on four different surfaces, he was successful on all of them. He has shown that strokemaking can be ridiculously easy. He did it in IPL last year but even in this series, he looked at ease while playing his shots. His six fifties have come at different pace but 60 percent of runs in each innings came in boundaries.
There may be Indian batsmen in the current team who can play over the top of the fielders but none is as good a player of the sweep shot as Rahul. As a tall batsman, Rahul reaches to the pitch of the ball then sweeps it, with power. He used the shot on all surfaces and was successful. During his innings of 90 in Bangalore, Rahul did not sweep Lyon as he was getting some extra bounce. But he did play the reverse to other bowlers with confidence.
May be Rahul should not have played that lofted shot in Pune which triggered a collapse after his wicket but there is no doubt that he can is one of the best in the Indian team to counter attack any bowling line-up.
The two innings he played in Dharamsala showed by Rahul is a special batsman. In the first, he survived a spell of Pat Cummins and later admitted that it was the toughest he has faced ever. He scored little runs in that but the way he left the bouncer and managed to leave the balls outside was a great tutorial for any opening batsmen.
In the second, Rahul was positive right from the start. He said that he wanted to take India to the line so changed his approach. He remained unbeaten in the end after scoring 51 runs which consisted nine boundaries.
His scoring rate and the variety of shot he played, from cover drives to pulls, showed that he has matured as a batsman in this series. His ability to judge the situation was excellent as well.
India are away from Test cricket for a long time now but Rahul will be very positive after the learning and experience from this series.