HomeAnalysisTechnical Flaws With Incoming Ball Surround KL Rahul In...

Technical Flaws With Incoming Ball Surround KL Rahul In Tests

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The Indian Test team has seen star opening batsman KL Rahul struggling with his form this year. Rahul has had an ordinary 2018 campaign with the bat.

Apart from a 149 against England in the 5th Test at the Oval, Rahul has struggled for runs and also the manner in which he was dismissed gave us an indication of the issues that surrounded him.

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In the recently concluded series against West Indies, the mode of KL Rahul’s dismissals was there to be seen. At a time when his strike partner Prithvi Shaw dazzled with the bat, Rahul was the exact opposite.

Fans were left scratching their heads looking at the classy Rahul. The opening batsman, who also got chances in South Africa earlier this year, struggled in the rainbow nation. Against England, he suffered and with Australia next Down Under, there could be more worry for Rahul.

For now, the impressive knock at the Oval saved his place in the Test side. But time is running out for the batsman. He needs to get his mental blockage sorted to hold on to the place against the Aussies. India will play a 4-match Test series against Tim Paine’s side starting December.

Can Rahul build confidence and show a new self there? Current form and approach show that he could struggle on the bouncy pitches of Australia with Mitchell Starc and Co. firing in with a lot of pace and bounce. Here we decode Rahul’s Test journey in 2018 and the struggle he has had with incoming deliveries that have either resulted in being bowled or LBW.

Rahul’s mode of dismissals a recurring pattern

KL Rahul scored a magnificent century to save his test career (Image: The Indian Express)

Rahul played all the Test matches in England and got bowled on four occasions. The Karnataka batsman was also adjudged LBW thrice in the 5-match series that saw England seal the same 4-1.

Prior to that, against Afghanistan in the lone Test he was bowled out as well. The pattern continued against the West Indies. He was out LBW in Rajkot and then got bowled in Hyderabad, with his scores reading 0 and 4. In the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test, he gained some confidence and got an unbeaten 33.
Rahul has found it hard against the incoming ball. There’s no doubt in that. So when batting coach Sanjay Bangar still defended him and suggested there isn’t much technical fault, everyone would like to differ here.
“Don’t think there is too much of a technical fault. But maybe, when gets past that initial phase, he expects the ball to be pitched on stump line. We have been speaking a lot on that,” Bangar said recently in the series against WI. There is a clear pattern here and a technical glitch that has been highlighted in Rahul’s approach.

KL Rahul since June 2018  How he was dismissed?  Runs scored
Afghanistan (Only Test) Bowled 54
England (First Test) Bowled 4
England (First Test) Caught 13
England (Second Test) Caught 8
England (Second Test) LBW 10
England (Third Test) LBW 23
England (Third Test) Bowled 36
England (Fourth Test) LBW 19
England (Fourth Test) Bowled 0
England (Fifth Test) Bowled 37
England (Fifth Test) Bowled 149
West Indies (First Test) LBW 0
West Indies (Second Test) Bowled 4

Rahul has to bat past the pressure

K L Rahul
It could be a career defining season for KL Rahul (Image: Hindustan Times)

Rahul will be under pressure in Adelaide when the Indian team takes on Australia in the first Test. If he fails yet again, then that could pave the way how the Test series will be for him. Opening batsman Prithvi Shaw has showed his prowess in the chances he got in the two Tests against the Windies.

Then there is the in-form Mayank Agarwal, who is currently waiting to grab a spot, in the starting XI. The Karnataka batsman, who has been in tremendous form in the domestic circuit, broke into the Test squad this time. The management knows the strengths of Mayank and to get a hold in Australia, the team won’t mind going bold if Rahul fails.

This could see both Shaw and Mayank get the opening role for the majority part of the Aussies series.

The Indian selectors dropped both Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan based on the form outside the subcontinent. The veteran pair were deemed to not be good enough for Test cricket. Amid all this, only one man (Rahul) managed to survive the period, despite not having a great time in any of the two tours.
In 2018, we also saw Rohit Sharma being axed from the Test side. Therefore there’s nothing that can be taken for granted.

Rahul needs to work hard

Before the start of the Hyderabad Test against WI, Rahul was seen working on the problem of the incoming ball with coach Sanjay Bangar. As per reports, the latter drew two straight lines, that were in line with the stumps. He then pitched the ball between and Rahul was asked to defend the incoming delivery.
Yet in the first innings, he was bowled after being caught into two minds. The player, who created a havoc in the IPL 2018, has now opened up his stance so that he is able to move well and doesn’t get stuck. But it is a work that is going on at the moment. But he needs to now get this work done with a calm head and with some confidence.
Rahul as per the management is still a long-term investment. They have faith in the abilities of a player, who plays all three formats.
Rahul’s technique has eluded him off late and it also means that he may be running out of the long rope given by Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri at the moment.
India cannot take the series Down under lightly and should have the no stones unturned attitude. Rahul, in particular, needs to do all the hard work and get in the zone of runs.

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