Mumbai, Sep 2 (SocialNews.XYZ) Former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar believes that if opener K.L Rahul continues to bat like the way he did in the Asia Cup Group A match against Hong Kong, then a change will be a possibility in the opening combination.
In India's 40-run win over Hong Kong at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday, Rahul was a far shadow of his fluent self. On a slow pitch and with Hong Kong bowlers operating at a slower pace, Rahul struggled to time the ball, barring two sixes, in a painstaking 39-ball 36, including 16 dot balls. In Sunday's match against Pakistan, Rahul chopped on for a first-ball duck off debutant pacer Naseem Shah.
"Look, you know, I think he's coming back from a long, long injury layoff. He didn't get too many opportunities in the West Indies (didn't travel due to Covid-19). And I think if you look at Wednesday's (yesterday's) innings in isolation and you look at you say, 'okay listen, 36 of 39 deliveries against Hong Kong seems to be slow'."
"But I think in this case the team management would have said to him, 'this is a bit of a free hit', you know, you know 999 times out of 1000, you're going to win against Hong Kong. So, this was a bit of a free hit, saying 'K.L, take your time out there, get set, get a feel out there being in the middle and then we'll see how it goes'," said Gavaskar on 'Sports Over The Top' show on Sports18.
Rahul is playing T20Is for India for the first time this year through the Asia Cup, after a long layoff caused by a combination of injuries, surgery and Covid-19 infection. With little time left in the Men's T20 World Cup coming in Australia, Rahul needs to find his groove back to be in the 15-man squad.
"If he continues to bat like he did in Wednesday's (yesterday's) game, then I think, you know, we might see a bit of a change. But I think (on) Wednesday (yesterday) there might have been some suggestion from the team management saying don't worry about strike rate for this particular game. Just worry about spending time in the middle, getting some runs, getting some confidence. Because we all know a confident K.L Rahul is an asset to the side," added Gavaskar.
After topping Group A in Asia Cup 2022 by winning matches against Pakistan and Hong Kong, India have progressed to the Super Four stage and are now scheduled to play their next match on Sunday.