Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s hiatus, Rishab Pant’s flimsy performance behind the stumps. While Team India was lacking in a good wicket keeper, the discovery of KL Rahul’s wicket keeping talent in the recent ODI series against Australia has been a boon for the squad. Praise from pundits and supporters and commemoration from the skipper Virat Kohli himself, the blasting opener is securing his role with the gloves. And what matters most, the player is enjoying his new duty.
Following yesterday’s victory in the first match of the T20 series against New Zealand, KL Rahul was present in the post match interview, and the newborn keeper mentions its actually not his first major wicket keeping duty.
Rahul said: “I am honestly loving it, in the international stage it might look that I am new to wicket-keeping, but I have done this role in the domestic cricket. I have done it for my IPL franchise, I enjoy staying behind the stumps.”
Playing for Karnataka cricket team, Rahul has previously donned the gloves for behind the stump role, and also revealed the benefits of being a keeper in a match.
The 27 year old continued: “It gives me a great idea of how the pitch is playing then I can pass on the message to the skipper and bowlers. Wicket-keeping requires you to be pro-active. I am enjoying the responsibility.”
Since his debut in white ball cricket back in 2016, Rahul was having sporadic call ups for international series. However, with stunning performance on the 22 yards in recent matches has him secured in a versatile role in the batting order, as seen against the Aussies last week, coming in both as an opener and also down in the middle order.
“I felt like I was not getting enough game time, I was a part of the team for a long time, but I used to get just a couple of games. As a batsman, you need some time in the middle. I got runs in domestic cricket and that has worked really well for me.”
Previously a member of Indian Premier League sides Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rahul joined Kings XI Punjab in 2018, and his performance in IPL has been a major factor for strengthening his position in the international squad.
Tomorrow is India’s second T20 match of the New Zealand series at Eden Park