Adelaide, Nov 1 (UiTV/IANS) – Flamboyant opener KL Rahul has had a torrid time in the T20 World Cup, with scores of 4, 9 and 9 in the three matches played by India in Super 12s till now.
In his time at the crease, Rahul’s been overtly cautious in the middle, and hasn’t shown much footwork, as seen from his dismissals so far: chopping on to his stumps against Pakistan, trapped lbw by an incoming delivery against Netherlands and nicked tamely to first slip against South Africa.
On the eve of India’s match against Bangladesh at Adelaide Oval, head coach Rahul Dravid stated that they are completely backing Rahul to come good, and that the team think-tank has no concerns over the form of their first-choice opener.
“In these (tough) conditions, maybe we can afford him a little bit of time. As I said, we completely back him, we have no concerns about him. We know that when he gets going and I have seen it against a top-class Australia attack couple of weeks ago, I know the impact this guy can make. I know with him and Rohit in my mind, I have absolutely no doubt that who’s going to open for us,” said Dravid in the pre-match press conference.
Rahul had arrived into the showpiece event on the back of four successive half-centuries, against South Africa at Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati and in the practice matches against Western Australia XI and Australia as well. Dravid was confident that the right-handed opener will rediscover his groove as the race for semifinals heats up.
“I think he is a fantastic player; he has a proven track record and done really well. I think he has been batting superbly. These things can happen in a 20-20 game. It has been tough, not been that easy for top-order batters. This tournament has been challenging. I think he was superb in the practice game against Australia, the likes of Pat Cummins, and Mitchell Starc and a brilliant bowling attack. He batted superbly that day and 60 or 70 (57 off 33 balls).
“Just hoping that it all clicks together in the next three-four games. We know his quality and ability, he is very well suited for these kinds of conditions and pitches. He has got a good all-round game and has a very good back-foot game which is very much required in these conditions. We are pretty confident and happy with the way he has been hitting it.”
Though Rahul’s poor form has been a huge talking point in India’s campaign in the tournament, Dravid mentioned about clarity and support provided to him as well as other players, something which the current team management has emphasised a lot in recent times.
“We have a lot of conversations with our players, (a) lot of it is hard to reveal exact details of those conversations with players. Rest assured, both in words and in action, over the last year, he knows he has our support and knows that. There has been a lot of clarity on what our side or squad is going to be in this tournament and we have not wavered from that for a very long time.
“We play a lot of cricket, you might see different players playing in different situations and games. There have been injuries and including him, he has had phases where he has unfortunately been injured. In word and in action with all of our players, I think it has been great with Rohit that he has shown faith and belief in players.”
With suggestions floating of India possibly opening with Rishabh Pant, a left-hand batter, instead of Rahul, Dravid reiterated it’s not much difficult for the side to not be influenced by things being said outside and that they will stick with ideas and beliefs in the players within the team.
“Actually, it is not that much difficult as we don’t get swayed by what’s outside and what people are saying. We have confidence and belief in our players, especially in this 20-20 format, which is such a high-risk format in a sense that you ask people to play high-risk and positive brand of cricket.
“We had the belief that everyone has our backing and confidence, in the players we have picked in the 15, everyone can’t play here as we only play eleven. But everyone has our backing and support.
“They have been here because we know their quality and we understand that there might be times they will not be able to deliver for us, that doesn’t make them bad players. It’s not difficult for us to support players and back them, not at all.”