Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar said on Thursday that KL Rahul has a deep-rooted issue when it comes to scoring quick runs for his teams in the Indian Premier League and it’s important that the coaches help unburden him. Manjrekar’s comments came after Rahul was criticised for approach in Lucknow Super Giants’ defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022 Eliminator on Wednesday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Chasing 208, Lucknow Super Giants fell short of the total by 14 runs. Rahul top-scored for LSG but he managed 79 from 58 balls, striking at 136. Rahul failed to be there until the end and finish it off for LSG as he struggled to make up for a sluggish middle overs period. The LSG captain was dismissed in the penultimate over of the chase after which Lucknow’s chances vanished.
Rahul raced to a good start as he helped Lucknow post 62 in the powerplay, hitting 26 off 17 balls in the said period. However, Rahul held himself back and hit only one boundary in the next 7 overs as the asking rate was shooting up. LSG managed just 49 runs in the said period even as both Rahul and his partner Deepak Hooda were set.
As the asking rate shot up, Hooda had to take more risks and the one-dimenstional approach led to his downfall. Rahul tried to accelerate but his strange approach in the middle-overs meant there was immense pressure on big-hitters like Marcus Stoinis and Evin Lewis who followed.
“Every time he decided to play the big shot, it came off. He played a couple of terrific shots against Hazlewood. He can do it when he wants to but he just has this deep-rooted belief or approach that he wants to bat longer rather than quicker,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
“If I were the coach, I would just that decision out of his hand, even I were the captain. We have seen a lot of games where the teams would benefit immensely if KL Rahul had batted quicker rather than longer.”
Rahul has been one of the most consistent run-scorers in the recent past in the IPL. He has gone past the 600-run mark in 4 of the last 5 seasons but his strike rate has been a cause for concern.
‘GO HAVE FUN’
Manjrekar said Rahul may be not temperamentally suited to playing the role of the main man in a batting unit, especially in T20 cricket and it’s high time that the coaches free him up mentally.
“We have seen enough of KL Rahul to now know that when he becomes this player, this captain, the key player of the side. Virat Kohli loved that kind of responsibility, MS Dhoni loved it, Rohit Sharma, barring this season, generally likes that of responsibility.
“Maybe KL Rahul temperamentally is not suited to take this kind of responsibility where he is the man who has to get the job done. As a coach, I would drill that into his head that ‘as a coach, I am not expecting you to win games, you just go and have fun’.
“That’s why I believe he has a much better strike rate at the international level because he is one of the many batters like Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma so he just goes out there and expresses himself.
“The intention is right, he wants to win games for his side. Maybe he is not cut out. A strike rate of 120-130 until the 16th over, that’s maybe leaving too much for the end,” Manjrekar added.
Lucknow Super Giants’ maiden campaign in IPL 2022 came to an end on Wednesday. Despite dominating for the most part of the tournament, LSG failed to finish in the top 2 and the lack of the extra opportunity to reach the final cost them.