Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson feels that KL Rahul is better than a run “accumulator” and he should instead take on the bowlers from the beginning as well. Rahul has been criticized for his slow strike rate as he scored 36 (39) against Hong Kong in the recently concluded Asia Cup. And, his place in the team was put in doubt but he improved in the next three games, scoring 28 (20), six (seven), and 62 (41) as well.
Speaking to the ICC’s YouTube channel on Monday, September 19, Watson said: “I’ve seen the best version of him when he’s really taking on the game. We’ve seen it a number of times in the IPL, we’ve seen it with India as well. When he finds his feet, knows what the conditions are and then he really takes down the bowlers, because, as I mentioned before, he’s got an array of shots against the best bowlers in the world that no one can stop.”
Shane Watson added: “When he becomes more of an accumulator, what he was for Punjab Kings and also for Lucknow Super Giants, where he was slightly lower risk but could play the big shots, I believe he’s better than that. He can score 150-160 strike rate against the best bowlers in the world and that would take a bit of pressure of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as well. So for me, when KL Rahul is at his best, he’s really taking the game on, he’s not accumulating runs, he’s just taking them on from Game 1, because that’s the skill he’s got.”
However, Virat Kohli’s century against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup as an opener has increased the possibility of opening as well. Meanwhile, skipper Rohit backed Rahul, calling him a “match-winner” and also confirming the duo will continue to open in the T20 World Cup as well.
“When it comes to style, KL Rahul has always been one of my favorite players I have actually ever watched. His skill, how effortlessly he takes on fast-bowling, and spin, he has got all the shots on the book and he times the ball so beautifully. When I look at him batting, it makes me think of Damien Martyn and the grace that he had when he played, how hard he hit the ball when it looked like he’s not trying to hit the ball hard at all. For me, of recent times, Suryakumar Yadav has certainly got that style as well. And Babar Azam, you can’t go past him. But when it comes to KL Rahul, he’s certain just right up there. Just the belief to take on the best bowlers of the world with so much easy, it’s not that easy,” Shane Watson concluded.