Mohd Kaleem : India are not even considering the prospect of dropping KL Rahul after just two bad innings in the T20 World Cup, said India batting coach Vikram Rathour ahead of their Super 12 Group 2 match against South Africa in Perth on Sunday. Rahul, India’s vice-captain, has registered scores of 1 off 4 against Pakistan and 9 off 12 against the Netherlands. More than the scores, the tentative manner in which Rahul has approached the innings at the top of the order, will keep the Indian team management concerned. But Rathour’s comments didn’t give away anything. He in fact, confirmed that there was no chance of dropping the stylish right-hander.
“No. We aren’t really not thinking about that,” Rathour dismissed the idea of Pant’s inclusion for the time being.”I don’t think that’s a good enough sample size anyway. He’s been batting really well and also batted well in practice games. So we aren’t changing anything,” Rathour said in the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
India don’t have any other designated opener in their squad for this World Cup but the likes of Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav have opened in this format.
While Pant is an absolute match-winner, it is difficult to fit in both Dinesh Karthik and him in the same playing XI. Also with the team roping in Karthik for a specific role, there is no chance that the 37-year-old will be kept out of the playing XI.
“Only 11 can play unfortunately and I know and understand Rishabh is a fantastic player and we know he can be destructive against any opposition,” said Rathour.
While Rathour wanted to soften the blow but it was clear they are not even thinking about Pant.
“The message to him is be ready and your chance might come anytime. He should be mentally and physically ready. He is doing that and you might have seen him practising regularly. I am sure he will be ready whenever opportunity comes,” Rathour’s words sounded a bit hollow if one tried to read between the lines.
When asked about why Rahul has a tempered approach in the Powerplay compared to Rohit Sharma, he did admit that once he is back in form, things will change.
“Every player has his own way of playing and constituting their innings. A good partnership is one where each one complement the other. If Rahul is in good form then he can also be the aggressor,” the former Punjab stalwart added.
He also said that there is no conscious pattern to Virat Kohli’s approach.
“Not really. It depends on conditions and we pride ourselves on being a team that adapts to conditions. He (Kohli) is good enough to change his game as per conditions. He has done that brilliantly and we expect him to keep doing that,” he stated.
The batting coach also feels that in this World Cup, there won’t be too many 200-plus scores.”Playing with intent is the goal. Looking to score runs but we are looking to adapt as well as per conditions. I don’t think these are 200 plus wickets so we will need to adapt,” Rathour said.