KL Rahul is the most-discussed player in the Indian team for the last few months. Despite being an efficient and skilled candidate, his place in the Indian Cricket team is still unattached.
Thanks to his super-show in the IPL, his place in India’s full squad became almost a mandate now. But (sadly) still, the team hasn’t fixed the spot for him in the Playing XI.
He walked in as No.3 in T20s and No.4 in ODIs in the recently ended limited overs series against England. Now with the 5-Match long Test Series against England is about to unfold, one question still remains,
Where should KL Rahul bat in Tests?
According to the former Indian Cricket Captain, Sourav Ganguly, two of India’s best batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul are not being looked after properly.
Ganguly insists that India should play KL Rahul regularly at No.4 in ODIs. And he believes he can solve the No.4 problem for India if given the right opportunity.
Not stopping there, Ganguly was furious on the team management for not giving enough opportunity to Rahul.
Coming back to the topic, what lies ahead for KL Rahul in the longer format, the Tests?
Personally, I feel Rahul should bat more at No.3 in Tests, if he is not opening.
He always looked as a more confident batsman to me, whenever he plays in top-3. Pushing him down might do injustice to his talent.
I have seen people saying, a good player should adapt to any position the team wants him/her to bat. It is just a mere exaggeration of things.
We have seen players’ career mis-directed when used at wrong positions. And that shouldn’t happen to him. As Ganguly said, he should be looked after properly.
3 Reasons why should KL Rahul bat at No.3 in Tests?
1. Player for All Formats
This is why KL Rahul has often termed as a “Special Talent”.
He can play all three formats with the right balance.
He scored his first test century in just his third innings in Australia,;then became the first Indian player to get an ODI century on debut.
And, he is now one of the only 2 Indian players to score 2 T20 Centuries alongside Rohit Sharma.
And that’s why, a player like him, with this calibre, should never be underutilized.
Check: India’s team for England Test Series
2. The Role of No.3 suits him
The No.3 position in Test Cricket is always quite a tricky position to handle; especially for any visiting teams.
For any batsmen, the ignorance of the playing condition and the nature of the pitch, is never going to be a bliss.
To tackle that, the middle order batsmen in the team always go by what was happening to the batsmen in the field.
Thereby, the batsman walking in at No.3 can be someone, who creates the impact on the batsmen following him.
And I feel what Pujara did in South Africa, must have left a hollowness among the team.
Occupying the field for a long time without scoring much is something to look ahead in the current scenario of Test Cricket.
In ODI, Virat Kohli plays this role brilliantly in most occasions, by setting the right tone for the incoming batsmen.
This is where KL Rahul comes in with the variety of shots he possesses. He is a kind of player who likes to play his shots from the word ‘go’. His ability to play the good balls with ease to boundaries can be crucial in the tougher times.
It could give the team the morale boost it needs from the No.3, especially on the big overseas tours.
4. The Current Form
Despite any other reasons, KL Rahul should not be warming the bench for the form he is in.
Last year, Rahul has equalled an all-time Test record by stroking his seventh consecutive half-century.
He then scored plenty of runs in IPL this year and continued that form in the recently ended limited-overs series in the UK too.
Now with the tough England & Australian test series coming up, his positive waves can be crucial in the field for Team India.
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I know it is going to be a stiff task for Virat Kohli to choose between the two splendidly talented Batsmen for the position of No.3.
Still, keeping a player like KL Rahul out of the Playing XI could be a blunder.
KL Rahul might also replace Shikhar Dhawan who has scored “a pair” in the warm-up game against Essex.
It is the saying “horses for courses” that suits the situation here.
Picking the right players for every position is the key for the Indian team.
And with that, I believe KL Rahul should be an essential part of Team India’s Top order.