KL Rahul has been struggling for a long time in Test cricket with only one good score of 149 coming in The Oval Test of England series in 2018. Before this and after this, Rahul has been a constant target for criticism for his inability to play the moving ball and getting out in the same fashion most of the times.
It was only injuries and form factor of other openers, that has enabled Rahul to keep his place in the Indian Test side. Against West Indies, Rahul managed the highest score of 44 and it seems the fans and team management are at the end of their patience with him. It was not a case some two years ago when it came to Rahul being the blue-eyed boy of Indian Test side.
His first six Tests churned out 3 centuries and in 2017 when he got seven half-centuries in a row. However, he couldn’t crunch the T20 code which led to a change in his game for RCB in 2016, when he scored runs for them at a strike rate of 146.49. He was good at home, but in 2018, when the away Test series’ cycle began, the Karnataka right-hander has struggled to find rhythm and form. His 6 runs from 63 balls at Sabina Park was a painful watch given that he had scored 158 in 2016 at the same venue.
Chetan Chauhan blames T20 mindset for Rahul’s fall in Tests
In the last 15 Tests though, he averages 22.23 and something is not quite right. He is, however, doing amazingly well in the shorter formats, given that he had a good 2019 IPL and scored 361 runs in ICC World Cup 2019. However, as former India opener, Chetan Chauhan puts it, because of Rahul’s T20 mentality.
“I am fine if you get out early. But if you get out on 20, 30, 40 then your capacity and temperament are questionable. I saw Rahul going outside the off-stump and sweeping (in the first Test). You can’t do that. It’s a T20 shot. I saw Rahul going outside the off-stump and sweeping (in the first Test). You can’t do that. It’s a T20 shot,” Chauhan was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Though Rohit Sharma is being seen as an alternative for Rahul, it should be mentioned that the Mumbai batsman has not opened in Tests so far. Selectors feel that Rohit can emulate the success of Sehwag, who had a visible shortcoming against moving ball, like Rohit, but did well. However, Chauhan feels Rahul needs more support.
“Opening is the most difficult task in batting. We’ve to persist with the openers, they should be given time to settle down. We must persist with Rahul. He has to play more Ranji games, score big hundreds to find rhythm, how to change the game immediately (from ODI to Test),” he concluded.
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