After low scores of 1 and 0, Sanjay Manjrekar has reckoned that KL Rahul looks affected by his dismissals a lot and insisted that the opener should clear his mind and hit the ball freely. Manjrekar also stated that England might make a change, bringing in Moeen Ali to counter Indian lefties.
While KL Rahul had the best of forms in 2020, in New Zealand, where he had scores of 56, 57*, 27, 39 and 45, his form post that tour in the shortest format has been shaky. In the Australia series, Rahul did get a 51 and 30 but since then has scored two ducks in three innings, with one run in the other to put himself under a lot of pressure. With the return of Rohit Sharma to the outfit and the form that Ishan Kishan showed, his place in the Indian team is now in doubt.
However, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar reckoned that it is best for the Indian opener to clear his mind and hit the ball as they come. Manjrekar also stated that the KXIP skipper looks affected by dismissals a lot, which has put him under immense pressure.
“You have seen KL Rahul go through this phase before, we have seen various shades of Rahul, we have seen his best and worst. We have seen him get the orange cap at a strike-rate of 140, an orange cap at a strike-rate of 120. This is a KL Rahul who gets a bit affected by his dismissals a lot. Best for him to clear his mind and just see the ball and hit the ball,” Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
Former England batsman Ian Bell though had a different opinion, he insisted that England’s lack of offering had Rahul stuck for room, which led to his dismissal. However, Bell showed his confidence in Rahul, stating that he will come through well later in the series.
“Ya it’s interesting, there are a lot of T20s coming up, Rahul is a quality player and we all know that. I think England did well against him, not give him too much, which has restricted run scoring. He’s a quality player and I’m sure he will come through later in the series. But it will for sure be interesting to see what changes India make in the next match,” Bell remarked.
Meanwhile, at the top of the order, Ishan Kishan’s blistering innings has put a lot of pressure on England’s lone spinner Adil Rashid, who was taken to the cleaners in the second T20I. The two panelists agreed that England would definitely make a change. Manjrekar batted for the inclusion of Moeen Ali, which would allow Morgan to dictate terms against left-handers.
“Considering that Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant got the better of Adil Rashid, considering that the threat will be imminent in the third T20I. So for that, I think England would be better off playing Moeen Ali, just for his off-spin, giving Eoin Morgan an option with the ball against left-handed batsmen.”
Bell, on the other hand, insisted that if Mark Wood is deemed fit, after being ruled out of the second T20I with an injury, it would be a straightforward selection for the Three Lions. However, if that doesn’t come true, then Bell stated that Moeen Ali would be the obvious choice.
“I think it will be one of Wood or Ali for the third T20I. If Mark Wood is fit, I surely think he would be playing, he made a huge impact in the first encounter and surely he will be playing, if fit. Otherwise, Moeen Ali might be the favourite.”