Team India has never missed producing legendary batters for every generation. Right from Sunil Gavaskar, we all know the writings on the wall. On this list comes the current-crop Karnataka bloke, KL Rahul- athletically striking and analytically shrewd.
Whenever KL walks in to bat, he duly proves his mettle with his wide variety of strokes. Truly in the shot-making, KL has the stuff of legend.
The Indian opener’s batting relies heavily on his scintillating timing ability and those eye-catching shots he makes out of it.
Effortlessly he plays every textbook shot. And also, he never hesitates to bring in innovative shots when required. Here we look into 5 top shots of KL Rahul that fulfill the multifarious demands of this uber-professional age.
Cricket becomes high-octane whenever KL brings in his flick shot to get the ball over the rope. Unfortunately, it is a very hard bullet for the bowlers to bite when this inscrutable shot of KL comes in for their good length deliveries pitched in the middle stump line.
Short stride front foot – brings the blade down towards the mid-wicket region – Steady head – connects the ball- uses the wrists – helps the ball on its way towards the square leg or even behind.
Three key elements make this shot look otherworldly.
- His flexibility of the wrists connects the ball and directs the ball towards the region he wants to go.
- The exceptional hand-eye coordination brings the sweet spot of the bat into play.
- Once again, his head position. KL’s head doesn’t move towards the off while playing the shot, but it comforts the body balance by staying well inside the body line.
As of now, this is KL’s signature shot.
And for these players too!
The cover drive has been more prolific for KL Rahul, (and for these players) especially at Test cricket. The best thing to learn from KL’s cover drive is the quality of commitment. It may look easy for the eyes, but it involves a huge balance to bring in the timing for this shot.
Half of his work is done by head positioning. KL’s head pulls the body balance towards the cover region. As a subsequent process, he presses across with a short stride towards covers. Connects the ball just behind his front foot, right under his eyes. Gets the ball steaming towards covers.
KL Rahul’s lofted cover drive has been the talk among the cricket pundits for a long time now. One cannot hurt a pacer more than this shot could. Here, he uses the same technique of cover drive except the bottom hand coming into play.
KL has got a wide variety of pull shots.
KL’s minimal shuffle gets the ball towards his body which in turn makes the job easy. He is one among the very few batters who times the pull shot well.
When the ball is banged in short and angling down the leg, his front foot press from his shuffle makes him unable to go back foot. But KL being typically KL pushes his upper body behind to get the space to make the bat swing.
At the same time, when a short ball comes middle or off, KL sits back with his back foot- allows the ball in – opens up his stance by moving his front foot outside the leg stump line- middles the ball with a not-so-hefty bat swing.
Against the spinners, he completely opens up his stance to generate more power to make the ball soar higher.
On the whole, KL’s mind is coded with sheer timing, and that’s the reason why he concentrates only on connecting the ball with the middle, and the flexible footwork he makes out is only the by-product of it.
Be it going over the point region or getting on top of the ball to smash the ball through the ground, KL owns both the kind of strokes with his flawless technique.
KL’s back and across shuffle puts him in an opportune spot to negotiate the deliveries outside off. Since he prefers timing overpower, this shot becomes a natural asset for the Karnataka batter.
With his wrist playing the predominant role here, he can efficiently bisect the point and third man fielders by his late cut. And at the same time, he manages to slice off the ball over the third man region, which has happened many times when he bats at death overs.
Against spin bowling, he allows the ball further behind to cut the ball behind the stumps so close to the wicketkeeper.
Down the track shot
To be good against spin, a batsman needs to have two shots. One is the sweep shot, and the other one is played by ‘advancing down the pitch. And in KL’s case, he does both. In this, we’ll look at his down-the-track shot.
KL’s margin of error for this shot is very low. Because he plays it only when the situation demands it, but whenever he advances down the pitch, he does the ABC right.
The young Indian tyro has a good judgment of length, and this ability helps him pick the length early. Like other shots, he keeps his head and eyes still.
What fascinates me more is his transfer of weight. While playing this shot, his bodyweight completely gets accumulated on his front foot.
Having played so much domestic cricket on Indian pitches, KL usually connects the ball exactly at the pitch of the ball, not allowing the ball to spin.
Even though he gets momentum while swaggering down the pitch, the technically shrewd batter uses the sweet spot to do the business.
Above all, being an Indian batter and wicketkeeper, he reads the bowler’s hand more efficiently. And this gives him the upper hand while playing spin.
Also Read: 5 Best International Innings from KL Rahul
Cricketer. Budding Writer. Blogs at CricIndeed.com