The veteran Indian cricketer, Dinesh Karthik has explained the reasons behind the rise of the Indian opener KL Rahul in Test cricket in 2021. Karthik said Rahul was known for playing aggressively in domestic cricket which made his transition to Test level difficult. Karthik asserted that Rahul has changed his technique and temperament to suit Test cricket and, after gaining some confidence, has become a much-improved player.
Karthik’s observations came in interaction with Cricbuzz after Rahul led India’s charge on Day 1 of the first Test against South Africa in pacy conditions in Centurion. Karthik said: “The one thing that KL was caught up with was the way to play Test cricket because when he used to play domestic cricket he used to hit a lot of sixes to fast-bowlers over covers, over long-on, these sort of shots. He’s changed a few things technically like the way he stands and got better at it.”
He further elaborated, “The way he was leaving the ball, how late he’s playing it. He’s generally someone who goes for a cover drive and the uppercut a lot but now you can see he’s waiting on the cover drive, allowing the ball to come to him which in turn is getting him into good positions to play the right shots.”
Despite being a definite player in limited-overs cricket, KL Rahul never managed to cement his place in Test cricket before India’s tour of England earlier this year. However, on Sunday, Rahul and Mayank (60 off 123) gave India a brilliant 117-run foundation, which the rest of the batters built upon to end the first day at 272-3.
Dinesh Karthik further expressed his delight at Rahul and Mayank’s emergence from a “musical chairs” game, he said, “It was a bit of a case of musical chairs there because there have been openers doing phenomenally well for India… It’s great to see both these boys, very good friends off the field as well, coming from the same state of Karnataka. Things look really ominous [from] India at the moment.”