By: Shubham Ghosh
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels it will be difficult for KL Rahul to avoid scathing criticism for his protracted poor run with the bat due to the enormous expectations that come with the job, especially when past cricketers have set high standards.
Rahul, who has been stripped of the national vice captaincy after the second Test match against Australia in Delhi last week, has not crossed the 25-run mark in his last 10 outings in the long format.
“When you don’t score runs in India, obviously you will get flak. KL Rahul hasn’t been the only one. There have been players in the past also,” Ganguly, also the former chief of the Indian cricket board, told the Press Trust of India in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of Delhi Capitals’ camp for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).
Ganguly, who is the Capitals’ director of cricket, tried to put things in perspective as to why Rahul is being persisted with despite repeated failure.
“There’s so much focus and attention with a lot of pressure on players. The team management thinks he is an important player for the team. At the end of the day, what coach and captain think is important,” Ganguly, who played 113 Tests and 311 one-day internationals for India, said.
While Rahul, 30, has played some quality knocks in England and Australia, Ganguly said it’s obvious that people will expect way more from a talented player like Rahul, who has managed just five Test hundreds in nine years.
Rahul has appeared in 47 Tests but has an average of less than 34, 11 points less than that in first-class cricket.
“He has performed but obviously you expect a lot more from a top order batter playing for India because the standards set by others are so high.
“When you fail for a while, obviously there will be criticism. I am sure Rahul has ability and I am sure as and when he gets more opportunities, he will have to find ways to score,” the 50-year-old veteran added.
So is Rahul’s problem technical or mental?
“Both,” pat comes the reply.
But the cricketer-turned-administrator also gave an interesting insight into Rahul’s lack of runs as he is getting out to pacers as well as spinners in all conditions in recent times.
“It also makes it hard if you are playing on these sorts of pitches as the balls are turning and bouncing. There’s uneven bounce and when you are not in form, it makes it even harder.”