If K L Rahul could adjust to opening the batting in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, it will provide much-needed balance to the side, says assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, citing history when Rahul Dravid excelled in a similar role.
Rahul Dravid's versatility as a wicketkeeper and a floater under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy helped India maintain balance in ODIs, something Bangar expects from Rahul in the current limited-overs’ set-up.
Rahul, who was supposed to fill-up the contentious No 4 slot and did a decent job against South Africa in bowler-friendly conditions, will now open with Rohit Sharma against New Zealand on Thursday.
"The advantages of playing in various situations, is that you understand the game a lot better. If you are batting in the middle order and suddenly you go and bat in the top order, then you know how challenging it can be, wherein you need to negotiate two new balls but you also understand that there are all these boundary opportunities," Bangar said, when asked how challenging it is to suddenly open the innings.
"So, if a player is able to do that -- and if you look across the history of the game, players have been very versatile, and here if you take (example of) his namesake Rahul Dravid back at the various positions, actually, it helped the team big time," Bangar said.
The coach is confident that challenges encountered by Rahul while batting in the middle-order will help him while facing two new balls.
"So if you are a top-order (batsman) and you get to bat in the middle order, then you get to know the challenges faced by the middle order," Bangar said.
"There are a lot of big gaps out there in the field, and if you are in the top-order batting in the middle-order, you suddenly understand, okay, the balls which you would have hit for four in the first 10 or 12 overs, you only get a single,” the former all-rounder added, explaining how the situation changes.
If Rahul can show mental fortitude and make quick adjustments, it will be a dual advantage – the player builds his own reputation and the team gains from his contribution.
"So it's a mental adjustment, and any player who is able to do that requires a lot of skill, but ultimately it will enhance the position that he will bat in, and it will help the team's cause big time."