"Bit more defensive in mind"- AUS Legend explains why KL Rahul got exposed in T20I cricket.
India ended their 2022 T20 World Cup campaign with a humiliating defeat at the hands of England by 10-wickets in the semi-final of the tournament. One of the prime reasons for India's struggle in the competition was the poor performances from both openers.
Both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma were rusty throughout the competition. Especially Rahul, who looked overly defensive and has been struggling with his form since his return to the game from a groin injury. He scored a total of 128 runs in six innings during the T20 World Cup in Australia with a strike rate of 120.
As a result, he faced a lot of criticism from many former Indian cricketers and cricket fans. He also played two maidens during the first over of the T20 World Cup against South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson reckons that Rahul was playing with a defensive approach, and he needs to play his natural game. In an interview with The Cricket Monthly, Watson said that Rahul's natural game is to play an aggressive game and put pressure on the bowlers.
He said, "The thing I'd say, just specifically to KL Rahul - he's at his best when he's just taking the game on. Not trying to just rotate strike or being a bit more defensive. When KL's a little bit more defensive in his mind, that's when, like all batters, you're a lot more susceptible to being exposed."
Rahul came into the scene as an aggressive batsman. In his early career in T20Is, he used to play an aggressive brand of cricket. His numbers are really good, even in the Indian Premier League. He ended the 2018 season with 659 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 158.41.
In the next three seasons, he scored runs at a strike rate of 135.36, 129.34, and 138.80. On the other hand, he finished as the second highest run scorer in the 2022 season, leading the new franchise Lucknow Super Giants into the playoffs with 616 runs at a strike rate of 135.38.