Ahead of the much-awaited limited-overs series, KL Rahul has admitted that he is happy to bat at five and keep wickets for the country, which gives them the option to play an extra bowler or batsman. He also added that it’s a fresh start for everyone, but he hopes to continue being consistent.
With Rohit Sharma injured and ruled out of the limited-overs series, it has prompted questions as to who would open the batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan in the upcoming series against Australia. While it is widely expected that Mayank Agarwal will don the ‘Rohit’ role, the presence of Shubman Gill and KL Rahul has caused a few bouts of confusion.
Ahead of the series, KL Rahul in the pre-match press conference, admitted that he would be happy to continue to don the same role for the national team – bat at five and keep wickets in the shorter formats. He also suggested that if he continues being consistent, it gives the management an opportunity to pick an extra batsman/bowler, which would aid the team’s combination.
"The last ODI series we played I batted at five and kept wickets. It's a role I quite enjoyed and happy to play the role the team gives me. World Cups are important and is a long vision for every team. We are still taking it one game at a time. If I stay consistent, it gives us the option of playing an extra bowler or batsman. It's a role I would love to do," said Rahul in the pre-match press conference.
In the absence of Rohit, the BCCI had named the right-handed Karnataka batsman as the vice-captain for the series against Australia. After leading KXIP in the 2020 IPL, Rahul has already got a feeder of leading the side in the most pressure of situations.
"I'm looking forward to the new responsibility, it's something that every player looks forward to doing and it's a very proud moment. So hopefully I can continue putting up the same performances and maybe take it one or two steps ahead and make sure that the team environment is great and the players are hungry and looking forward to winning games for their country," he added.
The 28-year-old, who made his limited-overs debut in Indian colours against Zimbabwe in 2014, hasn’t yet got a consistent run in the setup. However, with his performance in the recent past, he feels confident being able to play his role to the T and contribute to the team’s win in the 50-over format.
"I haven't played a lot of 50-over cricket for a continued period of time. I've never got a long run even though I've been part of the India side for a few years. Feels good that I am contributing to the team's win and playing my role well. I am happy I am able to put out consistent performances," he added.
Rahul also showered praises on the Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, admitting that he's a dangerous player and can win a game single-handedly.
"That's the reason we picked him in our IPL franchise because he's a quality player and on his day can win a game single handedly. And he's a great team-man. He's a gun fielder and he's always there to support his teammates. He'll be eager to get out in Australian colours and perform for his country as well. It'll be a good challenge. Having played against him I know he'll be eager to perform as well. It'll be good fun," he concluded.