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IND vs AUS 2022-23: 'Strike rate is something that every player works towards' - KL Rahul

KL Rahul will be desperate to get the hang of things and return to his flawless batting form with a reasonable strike rate in the upcoming T20Is against Australia. He has confirmed that he is working on the same.

Sep 20, 2022, 12:06 PM IST

Indian wicketkeeper-opener KL Rahul was out of action for nearly three months due to injury following the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL). He returned to the side last month but has looked rusty ever since and has been irregular in big knocks. The upcoming Twenty20 International (T20I) series at home starting Tuesday gives him another fair share of a chance to get back into the groove, as he will be desperate to get back in shape before the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next month. While his strike rate has been a matter of concern, he has confirmed that he is working on it.

On Monday, Rahul said ahead of the Australia T20Is, "It [strike rate] is something every player works towards. No one is perfect. Everyone is working towards something." However, Rahul's overall T20I strike rate is 140-plus across 61 matches, primarily because he settles it up during the back-10 of an innings.

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"Strike rates are taken on an overall basis. You never see that a batter has played at a certain strike rate. These things are not always analysed whether it was important for him to play at a strike rate of 200 or whether the team could have still won with the batter playing at 100 or 120. So, when you look at [overall S/R], it looks slow," Rahul stated while giving a rational argument.

But Rahul is working on the strike rate. "It is something I am working on. Each player has defined the goals in the last 10-12 months. Everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected of him. I am just working towards how can I better myself as an opening batter," he continued.

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Rahul returned with the ODIs in Zimbabwe, having recovered from a sports hernia. "I am feeling good about my game, and getting some game after the injury was significant. Going to Zimbabwe was very crucial. It will be fun to play at home. It has been a while for me. Team environment has allowed players to learn from their mistakes," he reckoned.

Meanwhile, Rahul is happy to be a part of a dressing room, allowing players to learn from their mistakes. "The most important thing for the player in the room is what the captain, coach and teammates think of him, and we know what is expected of each person. Everyone is trying to give their best not every time a player will succeed. We have created an environment where players are not afraid to fail or not afraid to make mistakes. Even if mistakes happen, this is what we do. We work the hardest for this," he commented.

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He also believed that criticism would occur, but self-criticism is what this Indian team believes in. "Criticism everyone does, but we criticise ourselves the most. We are playing for the country, and when we don't do well, it hurts us the most," he said.

Karthik or Pant?
On the debate between having Dinesh Karthik or Rishabh Pant as a designated wicketkeeper, Rahul counted: "It depends what kind of combination we are going with on that day. It depends on the surface and what teams we play against. These are not easy decisions to make. Both of them are high-quality players, and both have different roles."

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Different mistakes happened at various events
India will look to conclude its combinations for the T20WC in the remaining six home matches against Australia and South Africa. Rahul communicated that the side is yet to play to its full potential. "Skill-wise, our performance was only 80-85 per cent. We are still not very good at batting or excellent at bowling or fielding. There are a few things we need to fix. You can only win big events if all these are done well and the team comes together to win a championship," he affirmed.

The mistakes committed differed during last year's T20WC and this year's Asia Cup, both in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). "What happened in Asia Cup and 2021 [T20] World Cup, we made different mistakes in those two events. We are clear about what went wrong and trying to learn from it," concluded Rahul.

(With inputs from PTI)