Is KL Rahul the ideal man to fill up shoes for Rohit Sharma?
First Published 20, Nov 2020, 7:22 PM
Rohit Sharma is one of the best openers for Team India across formats. He is currently nursing a hamstring strain, as he is set to miss out on the limited-overs campaign in Australia. Furthermore, his spot in the Tests also looks dicey, while KL Rahul has replaced him as the vice-captain.
Rohit Sharma is one of the most popular Indian cricketers and is an integral part of Team India, across formats. However, his current injury has jeopardised his chances of playing for the side in the upcoming tour of Australia.
Rohit suffered a hamstring strain while playing for Mumbai Indians (MI) during their clash against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), which saw twin Super Overs. It was then that he had to miss out on five games, before returning for the playoffs.
As of now, Rohit has been ruled out for the limited-overs, while his Test spot is still in doubt. He is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to assess his fitness.
Meanwhile, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell feels that Rohit's absence would bolster the chances of success for the hosts. However, he has also warned that wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul is equally good as Rohit and can pose a grave threat.
"He (Rohit) is a class performer, so consistent as an opening batsman with a couple of (three) double hundreds. So, anytime he is not in the line-up against you, it is a positive," Maxwell was quoted as saying to Sony Sports Network.
"But, in saying that, India have still got back-ups, more than capable of playing that role. We saw KL Rahul. The performance that he put on during the last IPL was extraordinary. Whether he opens the batting or not, I am sure he will be just as good a player," added Maxwell.
Maxwell also warned to watch out for the pair of Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan in the Tests. "Well, I would say they (Mayank-Rahul) are the two lovely guys, I have ever met. It was a pleasure to spend the change room (with them), two very good players, they score all-round the wicket and have got very limited weaknesses," he noted.
"I suppose ODI cricket might be a bit different (compared T20). Hopefully, with our bowling attack, we can put some pressure on them and with bounce in the pitches and bigger grounds as well, they play into our hands. They are good performers, and good players," reckoned Maxwell.
Maxwell was notable for his poor form in the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), where he failed to hit even a single six. However, the all-rounder warned not to judge him based on his IPL performance, as playing in Australia would give him a better opportunity to perform. "No, it's not going to affect my performances in the upcoming series," he clarified.
Maxwell also feels that his Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) teammate and seamer Mohammed Shami is likely to make an impact with his bowling. "A guy like Mohammed Shami, whom I have played with, in the recent IPL, and played with him in Delhi, as well. (I) saw the skill that he has. He has got good skills at the end (death overs), as well as with the new ball. His ability to get moving on pitches will be key to them," he considered.
Speaking on how he, along with fellow all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, are going to make an impact, Maxwell asserted, "The way we are probably going to set our team up is myself and Marcus Stoinis, or potentially another all-rounder, making up for the other 10 overs (for fifth bowler), the one without our four front-line bowlers. I suppose I can contribute wherever I can with the ball. With the bat, as it was against England, I will be trying to finish off games and do as well as I can down the order."
Finally, he spoke on having the services of Steve Smith back, a thing which the Australians lacked during the last tour by India in 2018-19. "To have someone like Steve Smith coming back to our side, it is going to be a big plus for us, a big headache for India. Smith has always scored runs against them," he concluded.