Zaheer Khan abandons crucial verdict on KL Rahul’s permanent place in Indian Test team

Zaheer Khan and KL Rahul

Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan praised wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul for his consistent performances with the bat in the last few years. Zaheer Khan highlighted KL Rahul’s success in the ODI World Cup and the away Test series against South Africa.

KL Rahul scored 86 runs off 123 balls, including eight fours and two sixes, in India’s first innings at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad. The right-handed batsman fell short of his ninth Test century when he was dismissed by debutant Tom Hartley.

The Rohit Sharma-led team was bowled out for 436 runs in their first innings during the first match of the series. Apart from Rahul, Yashasvi Jaiswal (80) and Ravindra Jadeja (87) shone with the bat. Joe Root was the standout bowler for the visitors, taking four wickets for 79 runs.

KL Rahul has had a lot of injury concerns – Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan highlighted that injuries prevented KL Rahul from reaching his best form, preventing him from taking advantage of it. Zaheer emphasized a rejuvenated and evolved version of Rahul’s cricketing prowess, labeling it as a ‘2.0’ version.

“If you look at Rahul’s career, he has had a lot of injury concerns. There have been occasions when he has been injured while he was in top form and has not been able to capitalize on this form, something that is required in international cricket. But looking at the recent past, with the successful World Cup campaign and the South Africa series, we can say that this is a 2.0 version of Rahul,” Zaheer said.

Rahul scored 452 runs at an impressive average of 75.33 in 10 innings in the ODI World Cup. The 31-year-old played 101 innings in the Centurion Test against South Africa. He continued to show responsibility as a middle-order batsman against England.

KL Rahul is a wonderful batsman – Owais Shah

Former England cricketer Owais Shah praised KL Rahul’s batting technique and highlighted his preference for straight shots with the bat rather than horizontal ones. Shah noted that Rahul used the sweep shot only a few times, unlike many English batsmen.

“If we look at his batting, he attempted the sweep only four times, while most English batsmen swept. He played with a straight bat and got his boundaries and singles with straight deliveries. Many say that we should not play against KL Rahul, but I would say that he is a wonderful batsman and he should play regularly,” Shah said.

Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are good batsmen – Anil Kumble

Former Indian captain Anil Kumble emphasized the capabilities of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel and stated that their aim is to extend the lead to 250 in the first innings.

“I think these two batsmen (Jadeja and Axar) will look to extend the lead to 250. Both of them are good batsmen and they got off to a good start. So I think they would go for a 245-250 lead,” Kumble said.

Axar Patel scored 44 runs off 100 deliveries, with seven boundaries and sixes. Rehan Ahmed dismissed the left-handed batsman as India scored 436 runs in their first innings.

Also read: “KL Rahul was the biggest culprit…” – Michael Atherton