India batsman and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) (now Punjab Kings) captain KL Rahul has had quite an eventful cricketing journey over the last few months. The opening batsman struggled to put runs on the board in the T20I series against England before returning to top form in the ODI series. Rahul, who was the top-scoring player in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season, had his critics over ‘strike-rate’ but the franchise’s batting coach Wasim Jaffer feels fans will see a more aggressive Rahul this time around.
Defending Rahul’s batting approach, Jaffer explained that it was the lack of reliable middle-order that forced the Karnataka lad to play the anchor’s role at times and hold one end of the pitch as other batsmen around him look to accelerate the run-rate.
“KL batted a little timidly last season. He probably batted deeper because there was not much batting after No. 5, and Glenn Maxwell was not firing. He took that responsibility on himself to try and stay at the crease and get the job done. This time around, everyone will see an aggressive KL Rahul for sure,” Jaffer was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Rahul remains in the scheme of things in all three formats for India – Tests, ODIs and T20Is – but doesn’t seem to have nailed down a guaranteed spot in any. After warming the bench in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia as well as the Tests against England, Rahul returned to the team in the T20Is against Eoin Morgan & Co. and failed to even cross the 20-run mark in an innings.
After being dropped from India’s team for the 5th T20I, Rahul earned a spot in the playing XI for the first ODI where he bagged a half-century. He did even better in the second ODI by registering a century.
Jaffer, hence, doesn’t have a ray of doubt over Rahul experiencing more form blues in the 14th edition of IPL.
“It can happen to any player. The more games he played, the better he became. Yes, he had a poor T20 series, but it did not make him a bad batsman. He has scored centuries in all three formats and knows his game better than anyone else. In the ODIs, he showed why he is such a special player,” said Jaffer.