KL Rahul, The Emphasis On The Optimal Use Of The Opening Of The Occasion > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - KL Rahul focussed on making best use of opening opportunity

Back to the opening slot, Rahul hit a breezy 62.

Back to the opening slot, Rahul hit a breezy 62.

During a crucial knock of 62 off 40 deliveries in the first T20I against West Indies in Hyderabad, KL Rahul became the joint third fastest to 1000 T20I runs - reaching the milestone in 29 innings. With two hundreds and seven half-centuries so far in his career, Rahul is joint third on the list for most fifty-plus scores by Indians, his average of 43.16 is the second best for India after Virat Kohli, while his strike rate of 145.91 is the best among those the Indian players who have scored 1000 or more in T20Is.

Despite these numbers, Rahul's fight for a permanent spot in the Indian T20I setup has been ongoing. Since his T20I debut in June 2016, India have played 51 20-over matches with Rahul having featured in 33 of those. In the same period, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have featured in more matches - 36 and 42 respectively - with Rahul having had to adjust himself playing at different positions, opening the batting 15 times, playing at number three on 10 occasions, and batting at No. 4 four times.

That Rahul got an opportunity to open in the T20I series opener against West Indies had to do with a knee injury to Dhawan, who has been persisted with in the opening slot despite his struggles with strike rate and the fact that he hasn't managed a single fifty-plus score in his last 13 T20I innings. Rahul, meanwhile, has managed three half-centuries in seven innings this year, and has maintained a healthy strike rate, pushing his case to feature as the frontline opener for the T20 WC in Australia next year.

But Rahul isn't looking that far ahead. "It's a long way, honestly. I've got the opportunity to bat at the top of the order again after a couple of series. So (I'm) looking forward to just making the best use of it," he said. "Today was a good outing, a good hit in the middle and hopefully I just continue the same thing and not worry about October next year, there's a lot of games before that."

Speaking on the eve of the series, Kohli had mentioned that the top three-four positions were more or less set and that the onus was on one batsman to control the innings while the rest can "play freely with strike-rates of 170-180". Rahul did provide that control to India's chase in Hyderabad, although he wasn't able to convert it into a bigger contribution after crossing the half-century mark.

"My role is to set the foundation and we have others to do their job later, the finishing job. Today I missed out, but I'll try to do better in the next match," Rahul told Star Sports following India's six-wicket win, adding that runs under his belt, immaterial of the format, will hold him in good stead. "You need runs as a batsman in any format, that is what gives you confidence. The thing that is giving me confidence is winning games (irrespective of the formats). I don't change my game when I play there (domestic) - that's how I like to keep it. I like to keep things simple," Rahul said.

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