IND v AUS 2023: “He has a proven record,” T Dilip backs KL Rahul to do well in ODIs as a middle-order batter

The ODI series between India and Australia will get underway on March 17 in Mumbai.

KL Rahul performing keeping duties in ODIs | TwitterAfter winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1, Team India will take on Australia in a three-match ODI series, starting Friday (March 17) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Ahead of the 50-over series, India’s fielding coach T Dilip addressed a press conference, where he said that Indian fielders have improved by leaps and bounds in terms of successful ratio of direct hits.

Dilip cited the example of KL Rahul’s direct hit to dismiss Litton Das during the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia which helped India halt Bangladesh’s charge and clinch a narrow win

“There are certain areas where we have certainly improved over a period of time. If you look at the number of direct-hit percentage in the World Cup and that one direct hit from KL Rahul changed the course of the match,” Dilip told reporters after India’s optional training session at the Wankhede Stadium.

“That’s something we are looking at as a group and if you look at it’s overall ratio, even though there are no run outs, the number of times we have hit the stumps has improved a bit. That’s one area we will keep improving,” he added.

With Rishabh Pant set to remain out of action for the major part of 2023, Team India are playing KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper-batter in the middle order.

The fielding coach backed Rahul to continue doing well at No. 5. “We all know that KL Rahul is a wonderful player. He has a proven record. Even in ODIs, in the middle-order, he has proven enough as a batter. As a wicketkeeper, he gets a lot of balance into the team because he gives advantage.”

“Since he is not someone who has picked the gloves just now – he has been doing that since a younger age – he adds a lot of things. Not that difficult to work on his wicket-keeping, apart from refining a few aspects,” Dilip said.

Hardik Pandya will lead India in the first ODI as regular skipper Rohit Sharma will miss the game due to personal reasons.

“He [Hardik] is the captain now officially. But he has been in our leadership group for all these matches and he’s proven in T20s what he can bring on table as a captain. Even if Rohit is the captain, he is part of our leadership group, he adds a lot of value to the team, not only you, we all are looking forward to him. He is well-equipped to do it,” Dilip said.

The fielding coach added that senior players like Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja inspire the younger lot to work on their fielding.

“They have proven over a period of time, they have been role models in terms of what they can contribute in fielding. Players do look up to them. What special I see when they come to practice is the intensity. Even after proving themselves, they carry that intensity, which rubs on to the youngsters,” he said.

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 15 Mar, 2023

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