IND v AUS 2023: “He has been a proper box-office in ODIs,” R Ashwin hails KL Rahul

KL Rahul starred with the bat in the first ODI against Australia.

KL Rahul | GettyKL Rahul may have lost his place in India’s T20I and Test teams after an extended lean patch but he remains an integral part of the Indian ODI set-up.

Playing the dual role of wicketkeeper and middle-order batter, Rahul has impressed one and all with his exploits in the 50-over format.

His stats while batting at No.5 are astonishing, to say the least. In 18 innings, Rahul has amassed 742 runs at an average of 53 and a strike rate of nearly 100. His ODI highest score of 112 also came while batting at No. 5.

In the ongoing ODI series against Australia, KL Rahul once again proved his mettle as a reliable middle-order batter. The right-hander scored 75 not out off 91 balls in the opening ODI in Mumbai when the hosts were struggling at 83/5 in the chase of 189.

Impressed with his performance, veteran India spinner R Ashwin said Rahul is a “proper box-office” in ODIs. He cited the examples of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni to state that batting in No.5 is one of the hardest things to do in the 5-over format.

"Consider everyone who is currently batting at No.5 in ODI cricket. There isn't even one cricketer at the moment who bats at No5 and has made a mark for himself. Because it is a very tough position to bat. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni were the only two guys who batted mostly at 5 in ODIs and made a mark for themselves. Dhoni mostly batted at 6 though. For Australia, it was Michael Bevan. It is not at all easy to bat in that number in ODIs," Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.

"If people we like do something good and get trending on Twitter then we will start worshipping and celebrating them like anything but if they are going through a bad patch, we will not celebrate their value or the magnitude of what they are doing. KL Rahul is doing a very difficult role with ease. He has been a proper box-office in ODIs. He has got phenomenal numbers batting at No.5. GO and search if you can find anyone even close to him in terms of numbers in ODIs.

"Immediately after his knock (in Mumbai) people were like 'KL Rahul is back'. KL Rahul didn't go anywhere in ODI cricket to be back. He didn't do anything for us to put him down one day and celebrate him the other day. We shouldn't do that. We should know how to assess a player's performance. If we don't do that, we will back all the wrong and play all the wrong people," Ashwin added.

KL Rahul will be next seen in action in the series-deciding third ODI against Australia, slated to be held at Chepauk on Wednesday (March 22).


By Salman Anjum - 22 Mar, 2023

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