Despite India’s unbeaten record after six games, the only team with one at the World Cup 2019 now, there have been concerns raised about the fallibility of India’s batting. Particularly so after the injury to Shikhar Dhawan earlier in the tournament. As a result, at the centre of focus has been KL Rahul who has managed scores of 57, 30 and 48 in his three outings as an opener. On first look, they are not bad returns but it doesn’t fully fulfill a top-heavy India’s requirements from their opener, which forms a big part of their winning mantra in ODIs.
Rahul too believes that he should be making higher scores in the tournament.
” A bit disappointing,” he said after their game against West Indies. “After doing the hard work and after getting through the first 10 overs or 15 overs… or as an opening batsmen to get the first 25-30 runs is the hardest time. And to do that, and when the time comes to accelerate and maybe take the game deeper so our lower order can come in and play freely… we know when they come after the 35th over or at the 40, they can do maximum damage.
“So it’s important that we do that and that’s the plan, that’s the role of the top three, top four. So a bit disappointed that I haven’t been able to do that. But again, I will sit and assess, but it won’t worry me that much because there are a lot of things I’m doing right, and I know that the mistakes I’ve made, I can learn from them and get better,” he said.
The focus on his scores have been higher than before after India posted 224 and 268 batting first against Afghanistan and West Indies. Both scores were defended successfully, and Rahul believes that there is still a lot to take out from these games for the batting unit.
“We can’t always go in thinking it’s a 300 wicket. The last two wickets haven’t been the easiest to bat on. Yet, without any of us scoring a hundred, we still managed to get 240 and 260, 260-plus today, which is great, which only gives us more confidence in our batting unit, knowing that if one of us or two of us go on to get a big 50 or a big hundred, it will just make it easier to get us to 300,”he said.
About the Old Trafford game against West Indies, Rahul said, “After the first 10 overs, the check we had in the middle, me and Rohit and then me and Virat, we assessed. And the message we sent into the dressing room was the same thing, that this is not a 300-330 wicket; it’s a 260-270 wicket. We need to keep that in mind and try to play that way.
“And we know that if there are two set batsmen by 35th or 40th over, we will end up getting maybe 10, 15 runs extra, which didn’t happen, but we still managed to get 260 on this wicket. We still managed to get 240-odd in Southampton which is good. But there’s — the only area where we can improve as a batting unit is that set batsman has to go on and bat longer and get a bigger score.”
Like his captain, Rahul too believes that making tall and imposing scores could be difficult task in the World Cup, with a high-risk game being avoided by most teams.
“Look, in One Day Internationals over the years I think we have seen it and you guys have seen that kind of approach because it’s bilateral series and it’s a different ballgame, and this is a World Cup — the pressure is really high.
“So as a batsman you can’t really go out there and play that kind of innings with that kind of freedom fully. But, I mean, with the kind of batting we have, with the kind of firepower we have in the back end, we know that initially we can take a little bit of time and the important thing, the plan is for the top three or top four, one of us to… even if we take time we are the kind of players where we can make up later”He said