India wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul has been a delight to watch in the shortest format of the game in the last few months, be it in the international circuit or domestic. His last four outings in the T20I read 52 (35), 62 (40), 11 (11), 91 (91) and his T20I average is 43.76, second only to India skipper Virat Kohli (52.66).
In T20Is, KL Rahul has either opened the batting for India, alongside Rohit Sharma, or has batted at No. 3 or No. 4 position when Shikhar Dhawan is in the side, but the Karanataka batsman has not yet been asked to keep the wickets in the format as the team management has persisted with Rishabh Pant behind the stumps.
However, with the destructive form that he has exhibited in the last T20Is, India head coach Ravi Shastri has conceded that KL Rahul could be used as a wicketkeeper for India during the T20 World Cup next year in Australia.
“It is an absolute option. You got to see where your strength is. If tomorrow there are a couple of guys in the middle order who are firing with unbelievable innings in the IPL. IPL will be a good judging ground. If you feel a guy who can multitask can be used at the top because there’s some firepower at the back who are doing extremely well, then why not?”
“That’s what you need. You need people who are doing 2 things at a time. Gone are the days when you only played as a batsman then you gotta be a Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma. Even they are excellent in the field. You got to have 2 departments if not more to be able to play white-ball cricket.”
Thus far, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been keeping the wickets for India in the T20Is. However, the 22-year-old has been under scrutiny in the last few months due to his poor performance both behind and in front of wickets. Moreover, his T20I average is just 20.45. KL Rahul, on the other hand, has not only impressed in the series against Bangladesh and West Indies but has also proven his credentials at the Syed Mushtaq Ali. Rahul had tallied 313 runs in eight innings at an average of 52.16 and a strike rate of 155.72.
However, after his 40-ball 62 in the series opener against West Indies, KL Rahul had said that he is not worrying about the T20 World Cup and is focused on just delivering for the team.
“It’s a long way [away], honestly,” Rahul said of the T20 World Cup, at the post-match press conference. “I’ve got the opportunity to bat at the top of the order again after a couple of series. So [I’m] looking forward to just making the best use of it. Today was a good outing, a good hit in the middle, and hopefully, I just continue the same thing and not worry about October next year, there are a lot of games before that.”