Salman Butt opens up on Indian openers’ struggles
By SMCS - Jan 13, 2022 1:38 pm
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Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has opened up on the challenging batting surfaces in South Africa which have troubled the thought process of India openers – KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Notably, both Rahul and Agarwal began the series with 123 and 60 runs respectively in the first innings at Centurion. However, they have struggled since then with fluency.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal

While Rahul managed a fifty in Johannesburg, Agarwal’s outside the off-stump weakness has been exposed once again. Analyzing the situation of them in South Africa, Butt stated that Rahul and Agarwal’s issues are more mental than technical.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, he explained: “Indian openers were in very good form (when the series started) but when you play on testing pitches consistently, at times, your thought process gets disturbed. This is what has happened to Rahul and Agarwal. If you compare Rahul and Agarwal with (Cheteshwar) Pujara and (Virat) Kohli, it’s the footwork that’s the big difference.”

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Reflecting on the openers’ poor dismissals in the second innings in Cape Town on Wednesday, Salman Butt stated the lack of footwork displayed by the duo. Butt, himself a former opener, elaborated: “Both KL Rahul and Agarwal were stuck in the crease against full length balls. They should have been forward but their feet are not moving. Extra bounce is playing on their minds. It’s not about the technique but the thought process.”

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli played a patient knock in Cape Town

While KL Rahul could manage 10 only on Wednesday, Agarwal managed only seven before getting dismissed. And, according to Butt, India will need another special knock from Kohli to post a challenging target for the hosts.

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“The pitch is highly challenging for batters and both sides are struggling. India need another Kohli special. Both him and Pujara are playing very well. People keep saying that these cricketers, who are not in form, should be dropped. But they tackled a tricky period towards the end of play really well. India need to bat till tomorrow (Thursday) evening to post a challenging target of around 250. They can then put South Africa under pressure,” Salman Butt concluded.