KL Rahul, India’s stand-in captain for the Afghanistan game, must have been relieved to get a decent score of his own as he scored 62 off 41 balls and bid farewell to the Asia Cup 2022 with a few runs off the bat. For Rahul, his scores before the match against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup were 0, 38. 28, 6, which was keeping his performance on edge for critics.
KL Rahul was asked during the post-match conference “If we look at Virat Kohli, he had five centuries while opening in IPL and even now he has scored a stellar 122* in just 61 balls while opening, then would you as the vice-captain and the team management, discuss and like to try him as the opener, keeping the World Cup in mind?”. “To Mein Kya Khud Baith Jaau fir” (should I bench myself then) Rahul candidly responded with a smile and added “Honestly, Virat scoring runs is a massive bonus for the team. He is pleased with his performance and the hard work that he had been doing since the beginning of the series has yielded results. It is a very good thing for the morale of the player that you get a good time at the crease before going to a tournament like the World Cup. It gives us the best chance to be more best of ourselves.”
On the point of Virat Kohli as an opener, he said, “You all know Virat Kohli, you have seen him for so many years, so it is not that when he will open only then he will score five centuries, he has been scoring centuries even when he comes at number 3. All these things are about roles, and what one’s role is in the team. He played his role in this match beautifully, his role in the World Cup will be different, and he will play his role well in that too, we have seen it over the years, so there is no question mark about that.”
While batting as an opener, Kohli has an average of 57.13 in nine innings in T20Is and has scored 400 runs at a strike rate of 161.29, with two fifties and a century to his name. His latest – an unbeaten 122 – has helped raise these numbers, but these are still much better numbers than his overall T20I stats. In 109 matches, he has scored 3584 runs at an average of 51.94 and a strike rate of 138.37. The key here is the big jump in strike rate and good use of powerplay. But Rahul clarifies it by saying the roles of individuals in the team are different and that will determine how and where Kohli will play.