Team India is set to kick off the new decade with a three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, the first of which is due to be played at the Barsapara Stadium in Guwahati. With this being a T20 World Cup year, each and every T20I is being seen as a step towards building a world-beating squad for the quadrennial event. Unlike Tests and ODIs, India haven’t been at their dominant best in the shortest format of the game. And, one of the reasons for that, has been their conservative approach at the top of the order.
While that has worked in One-Day cricket, it has led to their undoing in the shortest format of the game, with the opposition batters out-muscling him with their belligerent approach. And, Shikhar Dhawan’s patchy run in this format of the game had been at the heart of India’s problem which is why Kris Srikkanth feels KL Rahul should easily replace the southpaw.
Barring 2018 when Shikhar Dhawan finished as the leading run-getter, he has never set the ball rolling in T20I cricket. In 2019, he played 13 T20Is in which he racked up 272 runs at an average of 22.66 and- the key part- an underwhelming strike-rate of 110.56. While Dhawan has struggled in T20 cricket, KL Rahul is probably one of the top 3 T20 batters going around in India.
Rather the former chairman of selectors, Srikkanth went on to say that he won’t pick Shikhar Dhawan in the T20I squad for the World Cup. “Runs against SL don’t count. If I was chairman of selectors, I won’t pick Dhawan in the T20 WC squad. There is no competition between him and Rahul. Only one winner,” he said while speaking to Star Sports.
KL Rahul’s excellent form in the T20Is
KL Rahul has time and again proved his mettle in the format. In the recently concluded series against the West Indies where he scored two half-centuries and narrowly missed out on a three-figure score. In nine T20I innings in 2019, Rahul scored 356 runs at an average of 44.50 and a strike-rate of 142.50.
Rahul’s form has made it almost impossible for the team-management to drop him. But, Rahul only came as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan, who had made his way back into the side for the Sri Lankan series. With Rohit taking a rest, both Dhawan and Rahul will open, and the southpaw has an opportunity to once again assert his credentials in T20I cricket.
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