'We criticise ourselves more than you all do': KL Rahul's powerful reply on strike-rate debate
While addressing the press on the eve of the first T20I against Australia in Mohali on Tuesday, India vice-captain KL Rahul revealed that he is working on various aspects of his game and the strike rate game is definitely one of them.
There has been plenty of hue and cry about KL Rahul's batting, more so his strike rate, which reads 127.96 in T20Is since January 2021. The topic has snowballed further after Virat Kohli scored a sparkling century while opening the batting in an Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 match against Afghanistan. Although India captain Rohit Sharma yesterday confirmed that Rahul will continue to open the batting with him in T20Is, and labelled Kohli as the backup option, the question still remains: What will Rahul's approach be? While addressing the press on the eve of the first T20I against Australia in Mohali on Tuesday, the India vice-captain revealed that he is working on various aspects of his game and the strike rate game is definitely one of them.
"No one's perfect. No one in the dressing room is perfect. Everyone's working towards something, everyone has a certain role to do. Obviously, strike rates are taken on an overall basis. You'll never see when that batsman has played at a certain strike rate, whether it was important for him to play at a 200-strike rate, or whether the team could have still won playing at a 100-120 strike rate. So these are things that not everybody analyses. That's why when you look at it, it looks low," Rahul explained.
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"Yes, it is something that I am working on. Obviously, the rules that have been defined to each player in the last 10-12 months have been, you know very clearly and the player understands what is expected out of them and everyone's working towards it."
Ever since returning from a long injury lay-off, Rahul has struggled to be at the top of his game, with the right-hander admitting that it has taken him a few matches to feel confident about his body. "I'm feeling good, obviously, it's been a few games since I've come back after injury and getting that time in the middle was really important. So the Asia Cup and going to Zimbabwe and getting a couple of things was really important and really crucial for me and yeah, I'm feeling good. Looking forward to the challenge against the Australian team and it'll be fun to play back at home. It's been a while for me so I'm looking forward to it," he said.
When asked about India's recent performances in multi-nation tournaments, including the World Cups and Asia Cup in the last few years, Rahul said criticism is natural and that the members of the Indian team criticise themselves more than the fans or anyone else.
"The most important thing for a player in that dressing room is what his captain, his coach and what his players think of him. Only we know what role is expected out of each person and everyone is trying to give their best and not every time will a player succeed. That is the kind of environment we've created where players are not afraid to make mistakes or fail. We work the hardest for this," Rahul pointed out.
"Criticism happens every time. We criticise ourselves more than any of you do. We dream of winning; We are representing the country, we want to win the world cup all that is in our mind. When we don't do well, it hurts us the most. It's about what goes on in our team. We have a support staff and leader who not only appreciates when times are good but also in tough times when an individual has done well, they back us."