Mumbai: One never pulls out an old album expecting it to shine along with digital photographs. The images need to be handled with care before catching them by their neck so that they strike a balance with the lustrous. Similarly, KL Rahul’s inclusion in the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad against Mumbai Indians here at Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday left many flabbergasted.
It is true that the youngster needs time but making a Test specialist open the batting in a Twenty20 match is like asking a magician to perform tricks in front of Macbeth’s witches.
Nonetheless, Rahul – who did not feature in international cricket for more than six months – did ask questions to the Indian selectors through a couple of strokes before a predictable end to his innings.
The 24-year-old took time to adjust to the setting. He even took a blow on his head (from Mitchell McClenaghan). But as soon as he found his magic wand, he slammed the Kiwi for a couple of sixes and a boundary.
The first one went over point, the second soared over the wicketkeeper’s head. McClenaghan made it obvious pitching the third ball wide off the crease. Rahul flicked it for four runs.
But in the same over, he made a Test batsman’s nightmare come true, albeit in limited overs. The right-hander tried to shove the fifth ball towards third man and ended up nicking it to Harbhajan Singh at slip.
Rahul’s last five innings (for Karnataka in domestic cricket) which came four months back isn’t impressive either. He scored 131 runs. For India – he scored two in each innings against Sri Lanka in Colombo at the end of August. India won the Test by 117 runs but he ran out of steam.
Though Rahul made an appearance in Indian Board President’s XI against South Africa in October where he scored 72 and an unbeaten 43, he didn’t earn a ticket to the Test series.
But one never knows, a couple of half-centuries in the IPL can bring him back to India colours – the question is, as an opener or a middle-order batsman....