'He's got every shot in the book' - Former Australia great has an advise for KL Rahul amid his lean patch

Former Australian all rounder Shane Watson has advised KL Rahul to give up defensive approach in the early phase of his innings.

Rohit Kumar
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KL Rahul

KL Rahul (Source: Twitter)

Indian opener KL Rahul is having a tough time since his return to international cricket after the groin injury. In the recently-concluded 20-20 World Cup, Rahul failed to fire against big teams and scored 128 runs in six innings with a strike rate of nearly 120. Rahul faced significant criticism from fans and former cricketers alike for his below-par performances throughout the tournament, as India were knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions England.

The Karnataka batter was criticised for his conservative approach at the start of the innings throughout the tournament. The 30-year-old played out a maiden first over in the 20-20 World Cup on two occasions (against South Africa and Zimbabwe). Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson, however, believes that Rahul is “at his best” when he is not playing a conservative brand of cricket.

“The thing I'd say, just specifically to KL Rahul - he's at his best when he's just taking the game on. Not trying to just rotate strike or being a bit more defensive,” Watson told The Cricket Monthly.

He can just hit that ball for a six or a boundary : Shane Watson

“When he's batting purely on instinct and putting a lot of pressure on the bowler, because he's just got every shot in the book - wherever they bowl it, he can just hit that ball for a six or a boundary. When KL's a little bit more defensive in his mind, that's when, like all batters, you're a lot more susceptible to being exposed,” the former Australia all-rounder further said.

Interestingly, in his initial years in T20 cricket, Rahul made his name for being an explosive batter and proved as much in the 2018 edition of the Indian T20 League, where he scored 659 runs in 14 matches at a staggering strike rate of 158.41 for the Punjab franchise. Ahead of the 2019 edition, he was named the captain of the franchise and while Rahul remained among the runs, his strike rate took a significant hit. Over the next three years for the franchise, Rahul had strike rates of 135.36, 129.34, and 138.80 respectively.

In the last season where he was acquired by the Lucknow franchise, Rahul enjoyed another impressive season with the bat scoring 616 runs but had a strike rate of 135.38.

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