KL Rahul and the Opening spot
After another injury blow to Shikhar Dhawan last month that ruled him out of the entire West Indies series, KL Rahul became the automatic replacement and did not disappoint.
The newly appointed Kings XI Punjab skipper had one of the best series of his career as he capitalized on his opportunity and scored plenty of runs against the Windies this month in limited-overs cricket.
Rahul kicked off the T20I series with scores of 62 and 91 that helped India emerge victorious on both occasions and eventually seal the series. The Karnataka batsman continued his fine run of form into the 50 overs circuit as he finished with 185 runs in three innings with the help of one half-century and one hundred respectively.
With yet another impressive streak this calendar year, there is no denying that the 27 year old has overtaken Dhawan and basically cemented his spot as India’s opener in white-ball cricket for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, Dhawan endured a very inconsistent run of form this year as he scored just two fifties and two centuries in one-day cricket. Similarly, his performances in the T20I format were even more questionable as he failed to hit a half-century all year long.
On the other hand, Rahul’s conversion rate has been far more superior than his compatriot and scored runs under pressure when it mattered the most. Despite being in and out of the side, Rahul has always delivered when presented an opportunity and been an influential factor in India’s success.
Moreover, he has performed exceptionally well in foreign conditions and scored big runs in England last year at the World Cup. Rahul has also made a slight adjustment in his technique that has further helped him become a much more improved and matured batsman.
Given his splendid form, it would be unfair to drop KL Rahul even when Shikhar Dhawan returns from injury. The added responsibility has resulted in Rahul producing his best every single time he steps out to bat and if he keeps this up, he will surely thrive in the testing conditions of New Zealand next year when India go down under for a five-match T20I and three-match ODI series against the Kiwis.