Team India opener KL Rahul secured almost a place at the top of the order with the way he played in the first Test and the hunger he has shown so far, according to former Indian middle-order batsman Mohammad Kaif. He also said that the shape of Rahul bodes well for the men of Virat Kohli.
After letting Rahul through, Rahul was under the pump to get into the Test series of 5 matches against England. His place in the team itself was in doubt, but an unfortunate injury to Mayank Agarwal paved the way for his admission to the top of the order. Kaif commented on Rahul’s thinking during the match:
“You want to win the match on your own. If you open the bat for the Punjab team, you want to be a match winner. He followed the same approach in Test matches. He wants to be the man to hang in there and score runs. Mein doosro keliye nahi chodunga (I do not leave it to the others). It comes with experience. He has been part of the Test squad for two years, but he does not have a chance to play.”
“He moved around, probably just looking from the outside and thinking about his game and everything came out well with him. This is a good sign for Indian cricket and also for Virat Kohli. Because as an opener when you go abroad, which KL did in the last game – if he continues to do so, India has a good chance of winning matches,says Kaif.
“KL Rahul has sealed the agreement and we will see from there” – Mohammad Kaif
Rahul scored a well-measured 84 in the first innings, which was crucial in India slipping ahead of England’s 183 score. Eventually, a few contributions in the lower order swelled the lead and put India in a pole position to win the match. After impressing in the first game, Rahul made the opening slot virtually his own, according to Kaif.
“Rahul concluded the deal. He will play a few Test matches, no doubt about it. He looks in control and India were in a winning position due to the opening between Rohit and Rahul – 97 runs in the first innings.”
“As KL beat Rahul, he kept the innings on one side. You need someone who can bat for a long time. KL has sealed the deal and we will see from there. I think Mayank will have to wait first,Kaif said about Mayank’s chances during the tour.
In the second Test at Lord’s, India are likely to make any changes, at least on the batting surface. Ravichandran Ashwin could replace Shardul Thakur after the latter was ruled out on the eve of the third Test due to injury.