While there might be no great news from a match result perspective coming out of the first Test in Trent Bridge, Nottingham, India will be pleased with their efforts in curtailing England’s top ranks during the series opener.
One such effort features Team India’s opening star, KL Rahul. The batter stood the test of time against a fierce challenge that posed many a threat in the form of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson as he notched up his half-century at the Bridge in style.
Rahul scored an impressive 84 off 214 which later proved to be the highest individual score in the 1st innings of the match. His sturdy knock laid the perfect foundation for Virat Kohli’s men to build upon in the initial Test of the long-drawn five-match series against Joe Root & Co.
It is said that when talent meets opportunity, champions are born for the world to witness collectively. The same can be said for Rahul’s inclusion and his subsequent starring performance in the Nottingham Test as the opening batsman chanced upon this opportunity only because of injuries to Team India’s first-choice openers — Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal.
While Gill got ruled out of the tour to England due to an injury, top-order batsman Agarwal suffered a nasty concussion just a few days before the Test at the Bridge. Luckily for Rahul, this became the ultimate handout for him to show his class and make a strong argument about his contention for the role of an opener partnered with Rohit Sharma, which he did in sublime fashion.
Most fans and followers of Indian cricket actually believed that if Rahul plays, he would have been used in the middle order by coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Kohli. However, the 29-year-old made the most of his opportunity at the top order and led India’s batting from the front proving a strong point to the camp.
Unfortunately, Team India couldn’t seal their pole position in the Test match by chasing down a target of 209 because of the rains interrupting much of Day 5’s play. The match ended as a draw.
Former Indian opening batting legend Virender Sehwag hurled praises at Rahul for his brilliant performance with the bat in the post-match discussions on Sony Sports Network by addressing the crux of the talented batter’s mindset.
“There are two types of mindset, you can make a comeback either in Rahul Dravid style, where you don’t play a shot at all and become extremely defensive, or you play aggressively in Sehwag style. Both are difficult, so you have to find your own way which is best for you,” Sehwag said.
“He said a very good thing that the improvement was caused by his shot selection. It is the most important thing, if your shot selection is good, the performance will surely happen. Virat Kohli is so consistent because his shot selection is very good. He knows which shots he can play and which he can’t. He sticks to that even after scoring a century,” he further explained.
“So that is the line I liked the most in KL Rahul’s interview that he was looking to play too many shots earlier but in this innings, his shot selection was most impressive. He only played shots if the ball was pitched up or short, he either left or defended the good length deliveries.”
“Sometimes there are small-small things that you need to pay attention to. So your friend or coach who has been seeing you for long can tell you better, identifying that is very necessary. He has identified that now and he will go forward from here and not back,” concluded Sehwag.