‘What criticism?’: KL Rahul shrugs off T20 strike-rate debate

“What criticism?” KL Rahul shot back when he was asked about the ongoing debate over his T20 strike-rate. Rahul shrugged off questions surrounding the pace at which he bats in the shortest format, saying that strike-rate doesn’t tell you the entire story, but added that “it is something” he is working on.

Rahul had led India in ODIs earlier this year during the three-match series in South Africa. (Photo: PTI)

“Strike-rates are taken on an overall basis. You never see when that batsman has played at a certain strike-rate, whether it was important for him to play at 200 strike-rate, whether the team could still have won (by) striking at 100 and 120,” Rahul told reporters in Mohali on Monday ahead of India’s three-match T20I series opener against Australia.

“Strike-rate is something I am working at. I am working towards it, on how I can improve myself as an opening batter and see how I can have the most impact for my team when I go out to bat,” he added. Rahul strikes at 140.91 in T20Is, which is slightly above his overall T20 strike-rate of 137.35.

Backing of Rohit and Dravid

Rahul said that the current team management has created a kind of environment where players are not afraid to fail, and that he has received an enormous amount of support from coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma.

“The most important thing for a player in that dressing room is what his captain, coach and teammates think of him. Not every time a player will succeed. We have created a kind of environment where players are not afraid to fail and afraid to make mistakes,” Rahul said.

KL Rahul (2) KL Rahul. (File)

“We criticise ourselves more than anyone else because we are representing our country. So when we don’t do well, it hurts the most. I have a leader, coach, and support staff, who encourage players who are going through a rough patch. Every individual wants to see a little bit of support, and that is what I have received.”

Good mental space after comeback

Rahul has recently made a comeback after recovering from surgery for sports hernia followed by a bout of Covid, but felt that he is in a good mental space after getting a few games under his belt against Zimbabwe and in the Asia Cup.

KL Rahul KL Rahul shared about his surgery on social media (Source: KL Rahul/Instagram)

“I am feeling good. It’s been a few games since I have come back after the injury. Getting that time in the middle was really important for me in the Asia Cup as well as in Zimbabwe. I am looking forward to the challenge against the Australian team at home; it’s been a while for me,” Rahul said.

Rahul had a productive Indian Premier League season, in which he led debutants Lucknow Super Giants to the knockouts with 616 runs, including two hundreds, at an average of 51.33 and a strike-rate of 135.35. Since returning from injury and illness, he showed signs of regaining his touch with 62 off 41 balls in India’s last match of the Asia Cup against Afghanistan in Dubai.

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