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Is It Time For India To Move On From KL Rahul In Tests?

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KL Rahul’s journey in Test cricket hasn’t reached the heights as one would have expected. KL Rahul poor form continues and things have been futile for a while now. His continuous failures have become a recurring phenomenon. Rahul has been getting the chances but he hasn’t done any justice.
KL Rahul poor form was once again witnessed in the recently concluded Test series against the West Indies. India ticked off many boxes in their 2-0 win. But Rahul’s position was once again a cause of concern.
Now, this hasn’t just come up in recent times or this series. It has been going on since the beginning of 2018. The failures have been repetitive no matter where the opener has played. To be honest, Rahul was lucky enough to be selected as the opener in the two-match Test series against West Indies despite his poor form.
That was because of an ongoing suspension of youngster Prithvi Shaw. One is surprised to see Rahul getting backed the way Indian skipper Virat Kohli has done. In any other side, KL Rahul poor form is a reckoning. One feels the management trusts him completely and there is an element of risk here. The Indian team feels Rahul has the time to sort out his issues and get going. But that’s what robbing others who could justify their selection.
It remains to be seen whether the Indian team backs Rahul in the upcoming Test series against South Africa at home. Even if he does get selected, playing someone else above him is another decision the management has to make. Ahead of all this, we decode why Rahul’s Test career needs to be packed up and what’s the solution.

KL Rahul poor form has been there for a long time

Rahul Test cricket
Kl Rahul poor form had a disastrous 2018 and similar outings have greeted him this year as well. Since the start of 2018, Rahul has played 15 Tests for India. During this phase, he has amassed just one fifty and a ton in 27 innings. That’s shambles for an opening Test batsman.
Barring a 149 against England and a 54 against Afghanistan, Kl Rahul has faltered badly. He has registered four ducks in the mean time. One would have hoped for some resurgence in the series against Windies, but Rahul couldn’t capitalize. He is averaging 22.23 since the start of 2018 when India played the Test series against South Africa.
Over this period, India dropped Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. And Rahul too has fared poorly. Perhaps the age factor worked for him given the numerous chances that came in his way. He had technical issues in 2018 and that bothered him for a long time. However, nothing much has changed.

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He wasted the chances against West Indies

Rahul vs WIndies
In four innings against West Indies, Rahul amassed scores of 44, 38, 13, 6. In the first Test, he was guilty of throwing his wickets away after playing poor shots against spinner Roston Chase. And then in the second Test, his technique against the pacers was exposed. The same old phenomenon of poking the balls that should be left bothered him.
If he would have at least converted the 44 and 38 into something constructive, the series would have gone on a different level for him. The confidence would have returned. But at this level one doesn’t expect to play the shots Rahul did. With series against SA and then a tricky tour to New Zealand in 2020, Rahul will find it more difficult against world-class pacers.
One felt that the struggles in Tests have got the better off him. This needs to change and for the sake of Rahul and the team, the management needs to send him to play County cricket. It has worked well for many Indian players and if Rahul plays a handful of First-class matches, then this will benefit him.
He can then negotiate well against the seaming ball and get a better understanding of the bounce and the movements.

India cannot afford to keep quality players like Rohit on the bench

Rohit during a practice session
India cannot have Rohit Sharma sitting on the bench at Rahul’s expense. Also, Hanuma Vihari could be a make-shift opener. This allows Rohit to bat at number six. Or perhaps, India can open with Mayank Agarwal and Rohit. This is after seeing Vihari shining at number six against Windies. So there are two strong options that will boost the side.
Rahul needs to be dropped given his trajectory in the last 15 Tests. That’s a long time to get the act right. Also, too much pressure also falls on India’s middle order.
India cannot keep favoring Rahul here and harming the opportunities of others. Someone like a Rohit needs to be backed for a few Tests. Rohit has been a pioneer in limited-overs cricket and one should allow him to use that form and confidence into Test cricket. He did well in Australia earlier this year and what many pundits and fans want to see is Rohit getting that backing in Test cricket.
India should utilize someone like a Rohit with world-class attributes more often in the longest format. With South Africa visiting India next, this is a huge chance to look at Rohit and give him that freedom to excel. This will benefit one and all.
With the ICC World Test Championship on, India will hope to derive the maximum in the 2019-21 cycle and boost their chances of winning the trophy, For that, you need a match-winner like Rohit to come in and settle those nerves.

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