KL Rahul’s sensational return to white-ball cricket was one of the biggest takeaways from India’s successful campaign in the Asia Cup. Record-time champions India crushed Dasun Shanaka’s Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the summit clash of the continental tournament on Sunday. Peaking at the right time for Rohit Sharma’s men in the ICC World Cup year, former vice-captain Rahul capped off an impressive campaign with the willow to retain his place in the Indian squad. The 31-year-old scored 169 runs in 4 games at the Asia Cup.
The versatile batter missed the entire group stage phase of the Asia Cup due to a niggle. However, Rahul announced his return to the Indian side with a match-changing century (111*) against Babar Azam’s Pakistan in the Super 4 stage of the continental tournament. The star batter then played a crucial knock of 39 against defending champions Sri Lanka in the low-scoring match to seal Team India’s berth in the final.
After a fruitful tournament in Sri Lanka, Rahul is all set to lead the Indian side in the first two One Day International (ODIs) of the three-match series against Australia at home. Reflecting on Rahul’s sensational comeback to the Indian side, former India pacer Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth has urged the stand-in skipper to extend his free-scoring run against Australia.
‘Just demoralize Australia’
“I would ask the likes of KL Rahul to play all the games and maintain the consistency that we spoke about. Show Australia that it will be worse for them in the World Cup. Just demoralize them and make sure we don’t lose,” Sreesanth told Sportskeeda. India have opted to rest skipper Rohit, ex-captain Virat Kohli, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and in-form spinner Kuldeep Yadav for the first two ODIs of the Australia series.
‘I want Bumrah to be rested if…’
Sreesanth, who played 27 Tests and 53 ODis for India, has also asserted that the Indian think tank should rotate their frontline pacers against the five-time world champions. “It will be interesting to see the kind of pitches they offer to Australia in the series. But I want Bumrah to be rested if there is a niggle. Let him decide how his body is feeling. He deserves to make that decision and choose his priority. The use of fast bowlers would be crucial. They should rotate them and the fast bowlers should focus on bowling in partnerships,” he added.