The international career of Karnataka ace batsman, KL Rahul, has seen both highs and lows. The ever-talented batsman made his mark in the Sydney Test in 2014, where he scored the maiden Test ton in his debut series.
From there on, Rahul fell one short of his maiden double-ton in Chennai against England in 2016. He was in the fringe squads for India in limited-overs cricket, where he smashed T20I tons in Florida and Old Trafford to show his dynamism in all formats of the game.
A largely unsuccessful Test series in England in 2018 was overshadowed by the fighting ton in the Oval Test along with Rishabh Pant.
However, Rahul, who was the preferred opener for India in Test cricket, lost his place in the whites, after given repeated opportunities. Following a decent World cup, Rahul was also axed from the limited-overs format.
The batsman was accused of giving away starts to lose shots. The graceful stroke maker made a strong comeback into the Indian side by impressive performances in domestic cricket.
Rahul used his opportunities in place of injured Shikhar Dhawan during the home season of cricket last year. Carrying on his impressive run, he made a place for himself in the Indian middle-order at the number 5 slot.
Furthermore, he made Pant out of favour in the Indian lineup by taking up wicket-keeping responsibilities. His childhood coach, in a recent interview, claimed that wicketkeeping was always Rahul’s strong suit.
“He was always a wicket-keeper. Wicketkeeping for India has come as a blessing in disguise for him. As a wicketkeeper, you have to keep vigil on all 300 deliveries behind the wickets. Wicketkeeping has helped him in his batting,” Samuel Jayaraj told TOI.
“When he was a kid, I used to ask him to keep the wickets. Wicket Keeping helps you with concentration. You only watch the ball and then move your hands and feet accordingly. That’s how Rahul has become a good batsman,” added Rahul’s coach.
During the IPL seasons of 2016 and 2017, Rahul also kept wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore. His coach further asserted that KL’s stint at RCB, along with the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers helped his confidence.
Further, the coach gave credit to the dynamic duo of RCB for the second life of Rahul’s international career.
“He (KL Rahul) spoke with a number of cricketers. He spoke with AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Virat spoke with him and motivated him. Apart from ABD and Virat, some more former cricketers spoke with him. But I would give the credit to ABD and Virat,” continued Jayaraj.
“ABD understands him better because he is also a wicketkeeper-batsman. Virat showed confidence in him. Virat knew how talented Rahul is. Watch KL’s stance closely, it is very very balanced. He looks calm before the ball reaches him. That’s one of the changes he has brought into his game,” concluded the coach.