Updated: February 5, 2020 1:18:09 pm
KL Rahul, whose unbeaten 64-ball 88 helped India post 347/4 in 50 overs in the 1st ODI against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday, once again flourished in the role of the finisher, batting at No. 5. Following up on his 52-ball 80 in the same role against Australia in the recent ODI series, Rahul scored 77 runs in his last 47 balls, with six sixes.
Having recovered from a patchy run, Rahul has entered the new year in roaring form, proving himself in every role he has been played in – opener, middle order batsman, finisher, wicketkeeper and even stand-in captain.
Mohammed Kaif, referring to the versatility Rahul has shown, said, “KL Rahul is Team India’s very own Swiss knife.”
Opens the innings ✅
Keeps wickets ✅
Stands in as captain ✅
Now finishes big for his team ✅
KL Rahul is Team India’s very own Swiss knife! #NZvIND
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 5, 2020
Irfan Pathan noted on Wednesday that it is surprising how Rahul has been ignored from the Test squad for the upcoming series in New Zealand despite being in this kind of form.
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) February 5, 2020
However, there were others who have suggested that Rahul be given one specific role and that he be allowed to flourish in that.
“I am not sure if it is a great idea to remove KL Rahul from the top of the order. If anything India could have gone with a Rahul-Agarwal combination and have Rishabh Pant keep wickets,” Gautam Gambhir wrote in his column for The Times of India.
“Rahul is a valuable asset and should be well looked after. Yes, he has done some good work behind the stumps in the games that he has kept. But I am not sure he should be expected to keep in the 50-over format,” he added.
Aakash Chopra, writing in ESPNCricinfo, said, “I would strongly recommend they play a frontline keeper in the ODIs against New Zealand and South Africa, and let Rahul flourish as an opener. Having him keep looks like a magic formula at the moment, but that mustn’t allow the selectors to take their eyes off the bigger picture.”
Rahul was playing as the wicketkeeper in the 1st ODI once again, with Rishabh Pant on the bench.
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