KL Rahul finds himself in the middle of a lean patch, with scores of 0, 1, 0 and 0 in his last four T20I innings for India. But while being out of form is not something even the greatest of batsmen haven’t dealt with, Rahul’s pattern is different to a lot, explains Gautam Gambhir.
The former India opening batsman is surprised at how woefully out of form Rahul tends to get when things aren’t going his way, and feels even when the batsman is out of form, there has to be some kind of contribution rather than conjuring nothing but single-digit scores.
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“It surprises me, when I look at KL Rahul. They are two completely different extremes. When he’s on a roll, he can give you back-to-back hundreds irrespective of T20 format or the 50-over format. But when he just completely looks out of it, there is nothing in the middle,” Gambhir said in a video on ESPNCricinfo.
“Even if Virat and Rohit are out of form, they will keep contributing. But when you see KL Rahul, either it’s everything or nothing. That is not what international cricket is all about because You will not always get big scores, you will not always have those big hundreds or a 70 or an 80 in T20 but there needs to be some contribution.”
Rahul’s recent string of low scores is reminiscent of his early days as India cricketer when he had made his Test debut. In his first Test against Australia in Melbourne in 2014, Rahul was dismissed for 3 and 1, but the batsman roared back with a century in the next match, scoring 110 in Sydney.
Something very similar happened in his next Test against Sri Lanka. In Galle, Rahul scored 7 and 5 but immediately in the next Test, Rahul struck another century, with the same pattern continuing in the next two Tests after that as well.
Cut to present day, and Rahul is going through a very similar run. In the IPL 2020, Rahul pummelled 670 runs at an average of over 55, with one century and five fifties, but ever since, has been battling for runs. Gambhir touched upon the same, saying Rahul’s two extremes are nothing new, irrespective of what game he’s playing or when he’s playing.
“I’m not talking about this series. That has been the template. Even when he got dropped from the Test side, that was exactly the template. Suddenly he will get a hundred and then suddenly there will be nothing after that. Even in the 50-over cricket, when he opened the batting, there was either a hundred or nothing,” Gambhir explained.
“Then he was pushed into performing the dual role of being a wicketkeeper and a middle-order batsman where there’s much less pressure. But in T20 format, he looks completely out of form. I don’t like talking too much about form because T20 cricket can be very difficult for a batsman. Looking at these three deliveries, he has been beaten. Not that he played a bad shot.”