He’s not a young player anymore, says batting coach Sanjay Bangar after KL Rahul's failure

The right-hander failed to grab on the big opportunity in the practice game to script a turnaround ahead of the Test series that starts in Adelaide on December 6.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shubham Ghosh

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KL Rahul has been living on the benefit of the doubt for some time now but his ongoing poor form could see him warming the benches instead of getting an opportunity in the upcoming Test series Down Under. The 26-year-old opening batsman saved his spot in the team after smashing 149 in the final Test innings in England this summer but he has failed to score more than one fifty in the next nine innings he has batted, across all formats. Even that sole fifty has come against Afghanistan.

Rahul had yet another poor outing in the four-day game against Cricket Australia XI underway in Sydney. While all other top-order batsmen, including his newcomer opening partner Prithvi Shaw, hit fifties, Rahul fell for three off 18 balls. He scored just 27 runs in two innings in the preceding T20I series against Australia which ended 1-1. Rahul’s form with the bat puts his chances of representing India in a serious jeopardy, especially when the visitors have chosen a number of opening batsmen in their squad for the Test series.

Rahul missed out in the warm-up game when all others scored

The right-hander had a big opportunity to script a turnaround ahead of the Test series that starts in Adelaide on December 6 in the practice game. But he did not last beyond the sixth over of the day after India were put into bat by CA XI captain who won the toss. He drove pacer Jackson Coleman on the up and got trapped in the hands of the field at mid-off.

While other Indian batsmen made use of the opportunity to acclimatise with the local conditions ahead of the Tests, Rahul did himself a big disservice. The fact that Rahul could not dominate a bowling attack which has a total of 36 first-class wickets (16 of which belong to opening batsman D’Arcy Short) speaks volume about his form.

India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar seemed to be losing patience with the batsman now and his words uttered in the media gave a hint at that. “He has been looking in good shape, including today, it is just that he is finding new ways to get out,” Bangar said.

“Even today, the ball was quite far and he played it away from his body and lost his wicket. But what we are reading is, he is playing the ball well and he is one hit away. We know his ability and if he converts that to performances then it is important for the team.”

Bangar also said that Rahul, with 31 Tests under his belt now, is no more a young player and is expected to play with a responsibility that he has as a member of the team. Rahul made his international debut in the 2014-15 series in Australia and hit a century on that tour.

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