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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Is KL Rahul in line to eventually lead India after Virat and Rohit

At 29, KL Rahul is already in the running to be one of the shining lights in India’s future. If experts are to be believed, he might one day even wear the mantle of India’s captain

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: September 17, 2021 2:34:36 pm
RahulRahul is only the third Indian to score a century in all three formats of international cricket (File)

After Virat Kohli made the announcement that he will step down as India’s T20I captain on Thursday, it sent shock waves across the cricketing landscape. With Rohit Sharma likely to step up next, one name that might make a case for the skipper role in the not-so-distant future is KL Rahul. There is a sense of déjà vu to the proceedings as Rahul had made his Test debut in the 2014 Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by replacing Rohit.

At a relatively young age of 29, KL Rahul is already in the running to be one of the shining lights in India’s future. If experts are to be believed, he might one day even wear the mantle of India’s captain.

Sunil Gavaskar said on Thursday that India should groom Rahul as a future captain and wants the BCCI to make the stylish right-handed batsman India’s vice-captain for the time being.

“It’s a good thing that the BCCI is looking ahead. It’s important to think ahead,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by Sports Tak.

“If India are looking to groom a new captain, then KL Rahul can be looked at. He has performed well. Even now in England, his batting was very good. He has been performing well in IPL and 50-overs cricket as well at the international stage. He can be made vice-captain,” added Gavaskar.

Throughout his career, Rahul has always drawn praise for his performances from the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid as well as Chris Gayle and Brian Lara which bodes well for the cricketer’s future.

Rahul is the first Indian to score a century on One Day International debut when he scored an unbeaten ton against Zimbabwe in 2016. He also joined an elite club when he became only the third Indian to score a century in all three formats of international cricket after an unbeaten 110 against West Indies in a T20 match, propelling himself alongside modern Indian stalwarts Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.

Rahul had started cricket training at the age of 10 and made his first-class cricket debut for Karnataka in the 2010–11 season and in the same season, he represented his country at the 2010 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup, scoring a total of 143 runs.

His test debut at the MCG, however, was an occasion to forget as he just made three runs in the first innings and in the second innings, made only 1 run. He had a dramatic redemption in the next Test match at Sydney as he stroked his way to a patient century, proving that he belongs to the national side.

IPL journey

Rahul started his IPL career for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2013 but was bought by the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)in 2014, before returning to RCB ahead of the 2016 IPL season. He finished the season as the 11th highest run-scorer, and RCB’s third, with 397 runs from 14 matches.

In 2018, he was bought by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) for Rs 11 crore and in the team’s first match of the season against Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), he scored the fastest 50 in IPL history, taking 14 balls to reach the milestone and breaking the record of Sunil Narine.

KL Rahul KL Rahul, captain of Punjab Kings, during last season of the IPL. (IPL)

Rahul was named captain of the Kings XI Punjab for the 2020 IPL, after Ravichandran Ashwin was traded to Delhi Capitals and won the Orange Cap for scoring most runs (670) in the entire season.

With the 2021 IPL season set to resume on Sunday, Rahul looks to win his maiden IPL title with his team.

World Cup 2019 and 2020 Australia tour

Rahul was named in India’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup and scored his maiden hundred for India in the World Cup against Sri Lanka and last year, he was named the vice-captain for the One Day International and Twenty20 International series of India against Australia where he made 77 in the second ODI and 51 in the 1st T20I.

Rahul vs Rishabh

Rahul, however, has tough competition from a resurgent Rishabh Pant who looks to cement his place as India’s go to wicketkeeper batsman. With Pant breathing down his neck after his heroics in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier in the year, Rahul replied with fantastic performances in the recently concluded series vs England.

Both are captains of their respective IPL franchises for this edition’s tournament and both will be vying for that elusive trophy in order to secure their place in the Indian team as well as the annals of Indian cricketing lore.

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