Southee rushes into bowl and pitches it in the good length zone. KL Rahul dispatches it over mid-wicket with the slightest of effort. The ball sails into the crowd. You don’t need the umpire to tell you if it’s a six. Next up, Southee comes into bowl and pitches it again in the length zone. This time, Rahul lifts the bladeof the bat over extra cover for a huge six. Two balls- in the same T20 contest- and both dispatched in different areas.
Then again, another one comes from Southee and this time, Rahul cuts it to square on the off side for a four. Thank god, it wasn’t a six, you feel as the jaded Kiwi fan. But way to go, confesses the Indian fan. During this knock of 57* at Auckland, Rahul is again challenged by a different line by Williamson’s trusted man. Southee, bowls another spell and pitches this one short.
Not the soundest of plans to hatch when you know KL Rahul’s form. This time, Rahul clears his front leg and send it flying over deep mid wicket for a towering six. Perhaps Southee- not an ordinary bowler, lest it is forgotten- doesn’t learn. He bowls nearly the exact same delivery at the same zone again. This time, knowing KL Rahul’s form, the fan expects another sailing six. Instead, the elegant Karnataka batsman hops on to the backfoot and executes a smart punch. There’s no power; just the gift of timing.
In a world where fast bowlers and batsmen engage in bullying each other, stamping brute hits akin to Rock musicians hurling a fiery heavy metal beat, KL Rahul offends the opposition producing instrumental music with his batting.
It’s as if, you go to a concert and put a smart-looking youngster on the stage, serenaded with electric funk and tunes, expecting bulldozing sounds and thumping beats. And the bearded, tattooed artist engages in a rhythmic sound, stumping the audience altogether.
Runs come easy when KL Rahul is in form. And knowing KL’s form, this season, exemplified by consistent successes from the onset of CWC 2019 where 361 runs at 45 in cricket’s elitist stage were followed by 185 runs from 3 ODIs versus the Windies, then 146 from 3 games against the touring Aussies (earlier this year), and then, the 224 runs from 5 T20s against New Zealand, one could expect heavy rainfall of more runs in the games lying ahead.
During all this time, he kept trouncing a Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr., Cottrell, Malinga, and as seen recently, then Southee, Sodhi, Tickner in his latest exploits.
Here’s what’s rather emphatic.
Not once, in the last 6 months or so has Rahul’s series strike rate whether against West Indies, Australia or New Zealand, gone under 88 in ODIs or failed to remain in excess of 120 or 140s and even 150s in the shortest form.
But that wasn’t the narrative for a man who, as seen throughout the 2018 season, seemed to not have ‘it’ in him, despite having begun his career in grand fashion, with a century against Australia, in Australia, scoring a 110 at the famous SCG, in 2014.
But a lot the now reformed KL Rahul- currently seeming some sort of a version 2- is not about the big scores he’s currently getting with a consistency with which one expects to see snow in the Arctic.
It’s about how he gets them. In an age where batsmen are known to become a tad bit adventurous in the pursuit of quick runs, Rahul gets inventive yet smooth, executing the same 360-degree range that endeared us to AB de Villiers.
That’s one heck of a comparison to make, albeit uncannily to someone along with whom Rahul’s played a fair deal of his IPL cricket for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
That said, it’s not that the usual cricket-devoted fan alone makes this observation, the swift footwork, the smooth shuffling of the body weight, and the remorseless slapping of medium pacers and spinners, indicating KL Rahul’s form in the recent timed.
Sanjay Manjrekar, too, emphasized the fact when he shared the following:
“Only K L Rahul can make 360 degrees batting look orthodox and classical!”
In fact, Kohli, who once again, scored runs in habitual fashion lavished praise on India’s new Mr. Dependable and shared:
“Both new openers gave us a good start, hope they continue to do the same. Shreyas’s hundred was outstanding and KL was brilliant with the bat too.”
Well, for now, let’s just contend with the fact that knowing KL Rahul’s form- at present- it may just be a matter of time before that big double-hundred comes in the longest form. That his personal best is 199 could use some improving! But, well, before that there are 2 ODIs to go, too!