KL Rahul has been struggling to get his form for quite some time now and it looked worse when he was dismissed after scoring nine runs off 12 balls against the Netherlands.. It was the second consecutive failure for Rahul in the 2022 T20 World Cup, having been dismissed for four in India’s dramatic opener against Pakistan on Sunday. It has led to a number of fans questioning India’s decision to stick with Rahul at the top of the order instead of giving someone like Rishabh Pant a go.
Before the tournament, KL Rahul score back-to-back half-centuries against South Africa in the series just before the T20 World Cup, but the first of those was a 56-ball 51. India’s former coach, Anil Kumble, who has experience working with Rahul as India’s head coach in the past and as head coach of the Punjab Kings in the IPL, said that Rahul just needs to “switch on”. Rahul was captaining the Punjab franchise and often came under criticism for his low strike rate at the top of the order.
During a chat with ESPNCricinfo, Anil Kumble said, “In the IPL it was a different conversation. Just go out and bat normally. But I think when he played franchise cricket, he felt that he needed to bat longer because of the lineup he had and he was captain. You can say what you want from the outside but you can’t control what happens on the field. With the Indian team it is quite different. I think his role is to just go out there and bat.”
He further explained, “When I was coach, I didn’t want that to change, I just wanted him to go and be KL Rahul, dictate terms from ball one. I think he sort of switches on and switches for whatever reason. We saw in his last game for Punjab against Chennai where we had to get those runs and have a crack at the net run rate, we saw what he can do. He just smashed everyone and Chennai had some good international bowlers.”
CSK had scored 134/6 in an IPL 2021 match against Punjab with the latter under pressure to improve their net run rate. KL Rahul played a fiery knock of an unbeaten 98 off 42 balls, smashing seven fours and eight sixes as he led his team to a six-wicket win with 42 balls in hand.
Recalling the same, Anil Kumble said, “So it is just a matter of Rahul switching on. It is not about any conversation any of us can have, it is just about him feeling that today is when I will start hitting shots or be tentative. We don’t know.”