With a quintessentially classy and composed innings, India’s KL Rahul has silenced his critics once again for good measure. The 28-year-old scored a crucial, match-winning fifty for the hosts on Tuesday in Pune against World Champions England, finally burying the ghosts of the T20I series where he cumulatively scored 15 runs in four innings.
Having just arrived at the crease with the score at 205/5, the 28-year-old wicketkeeper batsman managed to steady the ship for India, stitching together a 112 run partnership with debutant Krunal Pandya. Rahul started off slowly, allowing Krunal to play his aggressive brand of cricket but soon enough got into his stride, hitting a few of his trademark shots in an eye-catching innings. Rahul smashed four fours and four sixes, ending at 62 not out as India crossed the 300 run mark thanks to a late flurry.
“It was great to see KL scoring that half century. We all love watching him play, he is a class player,” remarked Shikhar Dhawan in the post-match press conference. The veteran southpaw went on to add “Every cricketer has to go through a lean patch in his career, and this only makes champion players much more stronger, it is part of the journey.”
“A champion player like Rahul will always be a champion. He realises this is just a passing phase, and the way he came back today, it was great to watch and I’m sure this knock will give him a lot of confidence,” said Dhawan.
Dhawan’s words were echoed by the Indian skipper Virat Kohli as well, who was all praise for Rahul’s resurgent knock. “It was good to see KL back amongst the runs. We want to back people like him who will do a selfless job.“
Apart from his stellar knock, Rahul was solid behind the stumps as well, deputising as wicketkeeper for this game with Rishabh Pant on the bench. He was shrewd with his glovework and picked up three catches as well, playing a hand in the dismissals of Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid to help India get a comfortable win in the first ODI over England.