With Shubman Gill’s rise in Test cricket following the tour in Australia, it appeared India may have been able to find a fixed Test opening pair. With Rohit Sharma’s position at the top fixed in the longest format, it seemed that Gill and Rohit would be the two players to open the innings for a long time.
But Gill suffered an injury and was ruled out from the England series, opening the doors for Mayank Agarwal in the team. While there were a few debating whether KL Rahul should also get a chance to be considered for the opening slot, many believed that if he was picked in the team, it is likely he would bat in the middle order.
But as fate would have it, Mayank also suffered a concussion a few days before the first Test in Trent Bridge, opening the doors for Rahul to open for India. The right-hander scored a half-century in the match, registering 84 runs in the first innings to help India take a lead of 95 runs in the match and taking a strong position in the match.
With rain washing out the entire Day 5 of the first Test, the match ended in a draw. Former India opener Virender Sehwag praised Rahul for his performance after the match and explained how he was able to find his footing in the match.
“There are two types of mindset, you can make a comeback either in Rahul Dravid style, where you don’t play a shot at all and become extremely defensive, or you play aggressively in Sehwag style. Both are difficult, so you have to find your own way which is best for you,” Sehwag said during a discussion on Sony Sports Network.
Sehwag further highlighted that Virat Kohli is a fine player because his shot selection is good. The former batsman believes that is one thing that KL Rahul has improved on. “He said a very good thing that the improvement was caused by his shot selection. It is the most important thing, if your shot selection is good, the performance will surely happen. Virat Kohli is so consistent because his shot selection is very good. He knows which shots he can play and which he can’t. He sticks to that even after scoring a century,” Sehwag said.
“He said a very good thing that the improvement was caused by his shot selection. It is the most important thing, if your shot selection is good, the performance will surely happen. Virat Kohli is so consistent because his shot selection is very good. He knows which shots he can play and which he can’t. He sticks to that even after scoring a century.”
“So that is the line I liked the most in KL Rahul’s interview that he was looking to play too many shots earlier but in this innings, his shot selection was most impressive. He only played shots if the ball was pitched up or short, he either left or defended the good length deliveries,” he added.
“Sometimes there are small-small things that you need to pay attention to. So your friend or coach who has been seeing you for a long can tell you better, identifying that is very necessary. He has identified that now and he will go forward from here and not back,” Sehwag signed off.
KL Rahul only played the first Test against England after Mayank Agarwal was rendered hors de combat due to a blow to his head. The former will hope to continue in the same vein in the remaining Tests and cement his place in the Indian team at the top of the order.