Making sense of KL Rahul missing out on the T20 WC squad

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India’s T20 World Cup team was unveiled, and fans were shocked to find that KL Rahul—a crucial player—was absent. The gifted batter, who is renowned for his outstanding performances, was left off the starting lineup. Many were left wondering why he was absent and how this will affect the dynamics of the team in the upcoming mega event.

● Unraveling KL Rahul’s Exclusion: Delving into the Selector’s Decision

Since KL Rahul and Rinku Singh were not included in the squad, fans’ legitimate worries were evident, especially since the announcement of the squad was still fresh in everyone’s mind. Even though both players have proven their mettle in the Twenty20 format on multiple occasions, KL Rahul’s absence has drawn attention. We explore the issues that led to Rahul’s withdrawal from the squad in this article and explain why the selectors decided he was unsuitable for the forthcoming competition.

● The Dilemma: Strike Rate vs. Runs – Rahul’s IPL Journey 

Over the past few years, KL Rahul’s playing style has consistently captured attention, particularly his tendency to play as an anchor rather than unleashing his full potential in terms of strike rates. This aspect of his game has been a topic of discussion, with Rahul often finding himself in the spotlight. His breakthrough season in the IPL came in 2018 when he joined the Punjab Kings, where he amassed an impressive 659 runs at a striking rate of 158.41.

2019 IPL saw KL Rahul continue to be a potent batsman, making nearly 600 runs in the Indian Premier League at a somewhat lower strike rate of 135.38. But what transpired in the next three years, from 2020 to 2022, aroused questions. Rahul’s strike rate failed to reach 140 even though he routinely scored more than 600 runs in every IPL season, which raised questions about his batting strategy.

Rahul’s statements, such “SR are overrated,” also heightened the discussion about his playing style and attracted a lot of attention and analysis. 

● High Hopes, Low Impact: Rahul’s T20 World Cup Disappointments 

Though the selectors never wavered in their belief in KL Rahul’s potential, he did not live up to expectations in the last two T20 World Cups. KL Rahul was granted the chance to compete for India in the competition in both 2021 and 2022. His involvement in these international events was, however, largely insignificant. 

KL Rahul failed to create an impression in the Australia 2022 T20 World Cup, managing just 128 runs at a strike rate of about 120 in 6 games.

In a same vein, while Rahul scored three fifties in five games during the 2021 T20 World Cup, his runs came against comparatively inferior opponents like Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia. Rahul had a poor performance overall as a result of his inability to contribute in the pivotal games against Pakistan and New Zealand. 

● Top Order Conundrum: Limited Slots and Strong Competition

Rahul’s domination in the top order has raised questions about where he should bat. He has opened the batting in most of his 54 T20I innings for India, with 10 of those coming at number three and just 4 at number four. Similarly, since 2018, he has primarily batted as an opener in the Indian Premier League. 

There was just one position remaining in the top order, with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli comfortably holding the top two spots. Yashasvi Jaiswal was given serious consideration for this role since he is thought to be a player who can score quickly against all kinds of bowling.

Rahul can bat in the middle order, though, because he can also choose to guard the wicket. The selectors responded to this by bringing in Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, who have both outperformed Rahul in terms of strike rates in the current IPL. Opening with a strike rate of 144, Rahul is followed by Samson and Pant with respective strike rates of 161 and 158. Due to this and the addition of Shivam Dube as a potential middle-order candidate, Rahul’s selection has become even more difficult.

● Turning Setback into Strength: KL Rahul’s Path Forward

It’s difficult to feel indifferent towards KL Rahul’s omission from the forthcoming T20 World Cup squad given his reliable performances in the existing IPL. However, Rahul’s exclusion becomes all but inevitable when we examine the trends in his prior statistics and take into account the rise of players like Sanju Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Despite this setback, Rahul can use this as a motivating factor, a reminder to keep honing his skills and stay prepared for whenever the next opportunity arises to represent India in the shortest format. Given his talent and determination, it’s only a matter of time before KL Rahul gets another chance to showcase his abilities on the international stage, and when he does, he’ll be ready to come out all guns blazing.

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