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'Rahul has reinvented himself'

By HARISH KOTIAN
March 13, 2020 09:32 IST
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'He has gone through ups and downs, he knows how to handle himself and is somebody who can get the team together.'

KL Rahul

IMAGE: K L Rahul in action for the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last year. Photograph: BCCI
 

It has been an unbelievable turnaround for K L Rahul whose magical run with the bat in the last 12 months has seen establish himself as one of the best players in limited overs in the world currently.

A year ago, Rahul and Hardik Pandya was called back from Australia after they were banned for their comments on a television show.

Rahul took the disappointment in his stride and returned with a vengeance, this time letting his bat do all the talking.

He bounced back with plenty of runs in the IPL and carried on his form in the ICC World Cup where he hit a century and two fifties.

The runs continued to flow in the home ODIs and T20I series against the West Indies last year and in the three match series against Australia in January before he continued his dream run in New Zealand recently.

Former India player Sanjay Bangar, who served as India's batting coach for nearly five years and worked with Rahul during his tenure with the national team, describes the Karnataka batsman as "a player who is willing to sacrifice his individual comfort for the benefit of the team."

"He has a wonderful international career so far. He has played nearly six years of international cricket and if you have succeeded in five out of those six years, I feel that anybody would be proud if they have played international cricket for that length of time," Bangar tells Rediff.com's Harish Kotian.

Rahul has taken over as the wicket-keeper in the limited overs format for India in recent series and has also batted at various positions according to the team's needs and that is why he has become an indispensable member of the Indian team, believes Bangar.

"KL has reinvented himself. Earlier, he wasn't considered to be a shorter format player. But now he is a very good short format player and he gives you that sort of flexibility because he is one player who can bat at various positions," says Bangar.

"It's unlike a lot many players who are basically comfortable in certain pockets. He can really do a job for the team in various positions. It is always great to have a player like him who is willing to sacrifice his individual comfort for the benefit of the team," adds Bangar.

KL Rahul

IMAGE: Rahul celebrates a century against the West Indies in Visakhapatnam, December 18, 2019. Photograph: BCCI

Bangar, who coached the Kings XI Punjab for three years and also guided them to the final in 2014, hails his former team's decision to appoint Rahul as captain for the 2020 IPL.

"You ideally want to have an Indian captain because that gives you a continuity and that also gives you flexibility with your foreign players," says Bangar.

"Rahul has been performing really well for the Kings XI Punjab. He is the right choice and he should do a great job because he has had international experience for a number of years," adds Bangar.

"He has gone through ups and downs, he knows how to handle himself and is somebody who can get the team together. He has got all the ingredients of becoming a successful captain."

Bangar, who played 12 Tests and 15 ODIs for India, had a stellar career for the Railways in domestic cricket, whom he led to the Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy titles.

The 47 year old says the IPL is a "brilliant" thing to happen to Indian cricket. "It's a brilliant thing that happened to Indian cricket, purely for the reason that the platform gives enough international exposure to all the players, all the upcoming players."

"Today, the number of players who become financially independent, and who can pursue cricket as a career has definitely gone up and it is all thanks to IPL."

MUST WATCH! The full interview!

VIDEO: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
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