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OPINION | Don't Underestimate The Importance Of KL Rahul's Performance As Opener: Kris Srikkanth

KL Rahul opened alongside Rohit Sharma in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan. The 27-year-old made the most of his promotion as part of India’s 136-run first-wicket stand vs Pakistan

OPINION | Don't Underestimate The Importance Of KL Rahul's Performance As Opener: Kris Srikkanth
India's KL Rahul plays a shot to reach a half century during their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 match against Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester, England on June 16, 2019.
OPINION | Don't Underestimate The Importance Of KL Rahul's Performance As Opener: Kris Srikkanth
outlookindia.com
2019-06-17T10:46:10+0530

Everyone knows how good a batsman Rohit Sharma is but for me the more important innings against Pakistan was from KL Rahul. Going into the game, the biggest question mark about this India team was how they would cope without Shikhar Dhawan.

Highlights | Report | Scorecard | Points Table

The fact the top three all got runs, that Sharma and Rahul put on more than a hundred for the first wicket and that Virat Kohli got more runs, is huge for India going forward in the tournament.

Every team that comes up against India will know that the top three are going to be a real danger and give them the perfect platform, especially with Rohit’s tendency to score big hundreds.

That is now three straight wins against three good teams and puts India in a great position to reach the semi-finals.

Also Read: Vijay Shankar, India's New Joy, Plays Role To Perfection Vs Pakistan

Prior to this, the one bowler who had been a little bit of a concern was Kuldeep Yadav, who didn’t seem to have found his form.

However, he was brilliant in this game, particularly the dismissal of Babar Azam which was a sensational delivery.

That leaves India with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep all bowling well, what more can they ask for?

Also Read: New Dad Rohit Says Birth Of Daughter Samaira Gives Him Serenity

It is a little like England, at the moment everything seems to be going right and the fans should be very happy.

This is starting to feel a little like the West Indian teams of the 1970s, where the opposition would start the game with a psychological disadvantage. Teams are worried about facing India and how they will cope with them, which immediately puts them on the back foot.

In this game, I felt that Pakistan made a mistake bowling first. Traditionally they are not a chasing team, and we saw how well they played against England batting first.

Also Read: After Thrashing Pakistan, India Get A Shocker

That was a blessing in disguise in many ways and India were able to take the game away from them with their batting.

It felt like there was more pressure on Pakistan, who had built this up to be a huge game, whereas India and Rohit, in particular, were able to treat it like any other match. That is vital in an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. You cannot put too much pressure on yourself because of who the opposition is.

The one slight worry was Bhuvneshwar’s injury but they have six days before the next game against Afghanistan so that will give him the chance to get back fit again.

In the moment, it was obviously a blow for India, but in some ways it worked out well for them because it meant we got more of a look at Vijay Shankar.

He did well in his first game of the tournament and took his opportunity, first with the bat and then later on with the ball.

Shankar’s performance increases India’s options, and as and when Dhawan returns, it will make for an interesting selection dilemma.

That is a debate for another time though, for now India should be very happy with how they have performed so far and long may it continue.

Courtesy: ICC

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