The only way for a batsman to respond to pressure and criticism is to talk with his bat. KL Rahul is doing exactly that.
With three half-centuries in his last four T20I innings (52, 62, 11 and 91), Rahul is making a comeback as the team tries to unravel their best combination for next year’s T20 World Cup And also the style of play that brings out the best in its batsmen.
The third and final T20I against the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday could mark the beginning of a change of approach in India’s shortest format.
Rohit Sharma was the best during his 34-ball 71, but it was Rahul who played the longest and perhaps the most important innings. Rahul scored 91 off 56 balls, including four sixes and nine fours – without taking too much risk while maintaining the tempo.
For a long time, India was considered better for chasing targets. But Rahul, Sharma and Virat Kohli have changed this series.
“We want to work in the first innings, whenever we have to start the batting (and) innings,” Rahul said on Wednesday.
He said, “We start thinking that we want more than 200, or it’s (how) T20 cricket is nowadays. Many times we have tried to overachieve, and when you bat first and set a goal that happens often, not just in T20 cricket but in any format.”
It would have been hard for Rahul to lose his Test spot for Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, who once displayed equal consistency in the opening slot with seven consecutive fifties in 2016-17.
But Rahul, who has made it difficult for Shikhar Dhawan to return to T20I, says it is important to focus on it.
He said, “I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t feel it (pressure).”
“Obviously, it is not easy for any player to get in and out of the team. He said that it takes a little time for international pressure and protest, and there is no opposition (against which) you can just walk in and score runs,” he said.
Rahul also appeared to modify his batting stance and the back-lift of his bat.
“I don’t think I’ve done too much work like it’s not a conscious effort. But I’ve seen my batting and every batsman go through a change. I felt like my bat-lift wasn’t coming at all from where I was. Wanted. I worked on it by taking time out to play cricket, and it’s going well. Everything looks good when you score, isn’t it? “
Rahul emphasized the importance of players being prepared for the match when away from national duty.
“I can’t really sit down and prepare. All I can do is prepare and try to make the match feel for myself. I played a lot of first-class cricket, so (there’s) not a lot of changes, It is still T20 cricket.”
“It is so important for any batsman or bowler (or) for anything to be in a good rhythm, to be out there in the middle, no matter how much training you do or how many hours you put in the net. When you go out in the middle it is completely different. Being in the middle and playing cricket is more important, whether it is a red ball or white ball,” he said.