File image of Indian cricket team opener KL Rahul© AFP
Batting coach Vikram Rathour went on the defensive the moment the question about KL Rahul‘s form cropped up after the second day’s play in the ongoing first Test between India and Australia in Nagpur. The India opener scored 20 off 70 balls before falling to Todd Murphy in the penultimate over of the first day. The talented batter last scored a Test half-century in January, 2022 against South Africa in Johannesburg. His last Test ton came against the same opponents in December 2021. He was slow off the blocks, and could not score a big knock.
Was he lucky to be considered in the playing XI despite his poor run of form, while someone like Shubman Gill is in the form of his life?
Rathour replied: “I won’t be able to comment on that. To be fair to KL, the past 10 Tests that he has played he (Rahul) has scored couple of hundreds and couple of fifties. He has a hundred in South Africa, he has a hundred in England and also has a couple of fifties. I don’t think we are there.”
For the record, the century in England came in August, 2021. Rahul has had run of poor scores with one 50-plus knock in his last nine innings and rest of scores were all below 25.
Talking about the match, Skipper Rohit Sharma conjured up one his most impressive Test hundreds under pressure against a quality Australian attack as India vaulted to a crucial 144-run lead in the series-opener after ending the day two at 321 for 7. Rohit (120) displayed class and composure of the highest order and in the process became the first Indian captain to have scored a century in all three formats.
While Rohit’s ninth Test hundred is worth its weight in gold, Ravindra Jadeja‘s (66 not out) 18th half-century is also priceless. The all-rounder’s knock will be equally important in the context of the game.
Jadeja once again showed his true worth by adding 61 runs for the sixth wicket with Rohit and another 81 runs for the unconquered eighth-wicket with Axar Patel (52 batting), who is also playing a fine hand.
With PTI inputs
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