KL Rahul is living a charmed life. A day after he was named in India's 15-member squad for the Cricket World Cup 2019, Rahul scored a half-century to help Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the 32nd match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Tuesday.
Put into bat by the visiting captain Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul and Chris Gayle opened the batting for KXIP. Rahul, who was named as a back-up opener to Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma for the upcoming mega event in England and Wales, looked conspicuous to the fact that everyone's looking at him.
And he took extra care not to become a talking point for wrong reasons, choosing every stroke carefully, and even leaving deliveries. At one time, he was batting on 8 off 19 balls. But the Karnataka batsman changed gears and ended up scoring 52 off 47 deliveries.
In the process, the right-handed batsman also went past 1000 runs for KXIP in his 23rd innings (23 matches).
The former Royal Challengers Bangalore player, who is also a wicketkeeper, joined KXIP last year for INR 11 Crore. This season, he has three fifties and one hundred.
The year started in the worst possible manner for the 26-year-old from Bengaluru. He, along with India team-mate Hardik Pandya, served a provisional suspension for their loose talk on women in the celebrity TV show ‘Koffee With Karan’.
Rahul earned his maiden international cap through Test cricket in 2014. He is the third Indian batsman to score a century in all the three formats of international cricket.
But as things turn out, 2019 may well be his best year as a cricketer.
Selectors might have selected Rahul as a back-up opener, but he may well end up playing as the number for India in the World Cup.