Kings XI Punjab skipper KL Rahul, post his side’s 69-run defeat versus Sunrisers, revealed that he was impressed with how young Ishan Porel has been bowling in the nets and confirmed that the pacer will get a game later in the season. Porel was a breakthrough star in the 2019/20 Ranji season.
As Kings XI Punjab were asked to bowl first by David Warner, and as the side’s new-ball bowlers got pasted by the Warner-Bairstow duo, there was just one question that was universally posted by both neutrals and KXIP loyalists - “where is Ishan Porel?”. Bought for his base price of Rs 20 lakh in the auction, 22-year-old Porel, who had a remarkable 2019/20 Ranji season for Bengal, picking 23 wickets at an average of 18.95, was expected to be one of the breakthrough stars of IPL 2020, yet on Thursday, found himself warming the bench for the sixth game running. Several other young bowlers, including Arshdeep Singh yesterday, have played ahead of the right-armer and the decision to constantly overlook the 22-year-old has both puzzled and irked a section of Punjab fans.
Speaking post the game, however, skipper KL Rahul revealed that he’s been impressed by how Porel has been bowling in the nets, and confirmed that the seamer will get a game at some point this season. Rahul also further lavished praise on Arshdeep, who was the pick of the KKIP seamers versus SRH.
“He’s been very, very good. He’s bowling in the nets and I’ve been impressed with how he’s been bowling. He had a great first-class season as well. There are some exciting guys in the squad and Ishan Porel is one of them. I’m sure at some point he will get a game. Arshdeep did really well; when a young Indian fast bowler comes in and does well, it’s a good sign,” Rahul said in the post match presentation.
Porel’s no-show was not the only thing under scrutiny as for the sixth game running, the Kings XI Punjab middel-order came under the scanner on Thursday. Barring Nicholas Pooran, who struck an otherworldly 77, every other KXIP batsman failed to score over 11 runs and an abject display saw Rahul’s side plummet to a 69-run defeat. The skipper, however, downplayed concerns about the middle-order and claimed that the team will win matches if set batsmen go on and make their starts count.
“When you look at a team in the bottom of the table, you start to think that a lot of things are not going right. We can accept that a lot of things haven’t gone right but no team has each of their top 6 batsmen firing - couple of them will be in good form and couple of them won’t be looking good.
"So it’s important that the in-form players get as many runs as possible for the team. Not very worried, if the set batters can get as many runs as possible for the side, that will help and that will make the team look good as well,” the 28-year-old spoke of KXIP’s middle-order.”
Rahul, post match, was also questioned about his strike-rate, which has upset more than a few and has left many a viewer flabbergasted. Barring the RCB game, the right-hander has maintained a SR south of 130 in each of his other five knocks and on Thursday, Rahul scored a 16-ball 11 and failed to hurt the SRH bowlers in the powerplay. The KXIP skipper, however, claimed that he was not bothered one bit by strike rates and asserted that his primary goal will always be to ensure that he wins matches for his team.
"Strike-rates are very, very overrated. For me, it's only about how I can win games for my team. And if on a certain day I think a strike-rate of 120 can win the game for my team, I will do that. This is how I bat and I would like to take responsibility as a leader. We all make mistakes, I'm not saying I have not made a few mistakes but you learn each day as a leader, as a batter.
"It's a partnership. When we are out in the middle as a batting group, every player has a role in the team and those roles can change in the middle with each game so I try to do the best I can for the team, try and assess the situation and play according to that. For me at the end of the day, I need to walk out of the ground knowing that I've tried to win the game."