Advertisement

How AB de Villiers helped in improving KL Rahul’s game as wicketkeeper-batsman?

The right-hander seems like a long-term No.5 prospect for Team India in ODI cricket.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Just about the same time, last year, KL Rahul had hit the lowest point of his International career. He had lost his opener spot in the Test team after a consistent run of poor scores in South Africa, England and Australia, and to top it all, he, along with all-rounder Hardik Pandya was suspended after their obnoxious comments in a popular chat show.

A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Rahul played as an opener in the 50-over World Cup after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out due to injury. And, while he did have a good tournament, he did not really set the stage on fire. His resurgence truly came when he was dropped from the Test set-up post the series in the West Indies. Rahul went back to domestic cricket, and not only scored a truckload of runs for Karnataka in Vijay-Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy but also kept wickets.

Advertisement

With Rishabh Pant struggling with both bat as well as behind the wickets, Team India decided to give the keeping gloves to Rahul during the Australian ODI series. The right-hander was also asked to bat at No.5 in One-day cricket and the stylish batsman has responded beautifully thus far.

Rahul smoked a match-winning half-century in his first outing at No.5 against Australia and carried it forward in the New Zealand series which he capped it off with a whirlwind 112 at the Bay Oval. Rahul’s wicketkeeping too has been impressive thus far and while there is still some work to be done, the right-hander seems like a long-term No.5 prospect for Team India in ODI cricket.

So, what’s the reason behind KL Rahul 2.0?

Rahul’s childhood coach Samuel Jayaj, who started coaching the right-hander when he was 8, has credited India’s captain Virat Kohli and Rahul’s former RCB teammate AB de Villiers.

Samuel revealed that Rahul had a chat with Virat and De Villiers and some other former cricketers. But he gave credit to AB de and Virat, saying that the latter always believed in his ability and showed confidence in him.

“He (KL Rahul) spoke with a number of cricketers. He spoke with AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Virat spoke with him and motivated him. Apart from AB de and Virat, some more former cricketers spoke with him. But I would give the credit to ABD and Virat. ABD understands him better because he is also a wicketkeeper-batsman. Virat showed confidence in him.”

“Virat knew how talented Rahul is. Watch KL’s stance closely, it is very very balanced. He looks calm before the ball reaches him. That’s one of the changes he has brought into his game,” Jayaraj said as quoted by TOI.

Advertisement