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India’s opening conundrum: Do they stick with KL Rahul?

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

India’s opening conundrum: Do they stick with KL Rahul?

Written by Sparsh Telang. Twitter: @_cricketsparsh

Team India’s hiccups in Test cricket (overseas) begin from the very top of the order itself. The openers, who are given the task of providing the team with a solid start upfront, setting a firm foundation for the batsmen to come in subsequently, have failed abominably over the past 24 months.

The Rahul-Agarwal partnership

On paper, Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul were the two talented openers expected to flourish this time around. Indeed, cricket is not played on paper, but on cricket pitches. And, when it is played on these pitches, the Indian openers have appeared rather anxious.

Having scored just 86 runs in five innings (including the Sydney Test) at an average of 17.20, Rahul and Agarwal in partnership have been deplorable. Although, opening the innings is not an easy assignment. The bowlers are fresh with the new-ball in hand, receiving some additional aid from the pitch. There is very little time for the batsmen to settle down, comprehend how the pitch is acting, and savvy the intentions of the bowler. There is a very little margin of error for openers in red-ball cricket, and that is what makes it more disappointing that KL Rahul hasn’t been able to convert his starts in the West Indies.

KL Rahul. India's opening conundrum: Do they stick with KL Rahul?
Will KL Rahul reach his potential?

However, KL Rahul could score 101 runs in his four stints at the crease, right as enraged fans want him to be thrown out of the team. On the other hand, Mayank Agarwal as well didn’t deliver as per our presupposition, as he could only manage 80 runs in four innings.

Albeit, unlike KL Rahul, Agarwal is just four Test matches old. He debuted in Australia, against a fiery bowling unit comprising Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, and had left a mark by scoring 195 runs at 65.00.

India’s opening conundrum: Mayank Agarwal couldn’t quite have the series expected of him in West Indies.

While Agarwal would surely be persisted with, the brouhaha for KL Rahul’s replacement has become even more clamorous, as the question arises – Who is Agarwal’s next opening partner?

Persist with KL Rahul: There have been enough promising signs

In my opinion, KL Rahul, who has four Test tons away from home, does have the potential and flair to survive in overseas conditions. Even though he didn’t score many runs in this series, in comparison to the series in England last year, Rahul appeared healthier with his footwork this time around. He is technically sound; is aware of where his off-stump lies and knows how to defend good deliveries right under his eyes, close to his body.

Rahul is merely 27 and has a lot of cricket up in front of him. If he makes a few adjustments to his game and dedicates himself like Virat Kohli did after 2014, he indubitably can thrive into a renowned all-time great Indian batsman.

Also read: India don’t have the same concerns in the bowling department. A look at what makes the brilliant Jasprit Bumrah so special.

Written by Sparsh Telang. Twitter: @_cricketsparsh

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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