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Rediff.com  » Cricket » 'Rahul needs to play county cricket to get his form back'

'Rahul needs to play county cricket to get his form back'

By REDIFF CRICKET
February 20, 2023 14:53 IST
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IMAGE: K L Rahul reacts after his dismissal in India's second innings on Day 3 of the second Test against Australia in Delhi on Sunday, February 19, 2023. Photograph: BCCI

Former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad continued to target the struggling K L Rahul after he was retained for the last two Tests against Australia despite his poor run with the bat.

Rahul, who managed just 38 runs in the first two Tests against Australia, was sacked as the Test vice-captain but continued to hold his place in the squad. He could make way for the young Shubman Gill as the opener in the Indore Test, starting next week, but it all depends on whether the team management retain their faith in Rahul or give someone else a chance.

 

Prasad pointed out Rahul's below-par Test record, averaging 33.4 in 47 matches overall, including a Test average of 30 away from home.

'There is a view that KL Rahul has an outstanding overseas Test record. But stats speak otherwise. He has a Test average of 30 overseas in 56 innings. He has scored 6 overseas centuries but followed it up with a string of low scores that's why he is averaging 30,' Prasad tweeted.

Prasad, who played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs, wants Rahul to take an example from Cheteshwar Pujara and play English county cricket this year where he will get a chance to work on his batting.

But he wonders if Rahul, who captains the Lucknow Super Giants, will skip the IPL to save his Test career.

'A few people think I have something personal against K L Rahul. In fact it is the opposite. I wish well for him and playing him in such form was never going to enhance his confidence. For him to earn his place back in Test cricket, now that the domestic season has ended, Rahul needs to play county cricket in England, score runs and earn his place back, much like Pujara did when he was dropped.'

'Playiing Test cricket for the country and doing everything possible to get back in form will be the best answer. But will it be possible to skip the IPL?' asked Prasad, who like Rahul is a native of Karnataka.

'But with KL being retained for the remaining 2 Test matches, if he is picked in the playing 11, Indore is his best chance of coming back to form and silencing critics like me. Else needs to play county cricket, perform well and make a comeback in the Test side.'

Prasad, who has served as India's bowling coach in the past, claimed the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal, who have a much better Test cricket record, didn't enjoy as much support from the team management and the selectors as Rahul does.

'Shikhar Dhawan has the best overseas average amongst recent openers. Average of nearly 40 with 5 100s. Though he too hasn't been consistent in Tests, but had outstanding centuries in SL and NZ, plus a much better home record.

'Mayank Agarwal after the brilliant start in Australia did struggle in away Test matches. But he has by far the best home record. Average of nearly 70 in 13 innings, 2 double 100s & a 150 on a Wankhede pitch where everyone else struggled. Great against spin & had a prolific domestic season.

'Shubhman Gill has had a brief international career and in 14 overseas innings averages 37, with his 91 at Gabba amongst the best overseas 4th innings and has been in outstanding form.

'And if overseas performance is a criteria, Ajinkya Rahane despite being out of form and also inconsistent before being dropped had obe of the best overseas Test record, averaging over 40 overseas in 50 Test matches. Was out of form and dropped.

Captain Rohit Sharma also called up Rahul to work out a method of scoring runs on turning pitches in India.

'When you are playing on pitches like these, you need to find your methods of scoring runs,"'Rohit said about Rahul, whose sequence of scores in the last seven Test innings read 22, 23, 10, 2, 20, 17 and 1.

'Different individuals are part of this team and they will have different methods of scoring runs. We are not going to look too much into what one individual is doing. It is about how everyone needs to come together.'

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