Sanjay Manjrekar seemed unhappy with the way KL Rahul played and said that he had a deep-rooted issue with scoring quick runs for his teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and feels that batting longer will be beneficial than batting faster.
This analysis comes after despite KL Rahul’s 79, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) failed to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL 2022 Eliminator and crashed out of the tournament. Chasing 208, Lucknow Super Giants fell short of the total by 14 runs. Rahul top-scored for LSG but he managed 79 from 58 balls, striking at 136.
However, Rahul failed to be there until the end and finish it off for LSG as he struggled to make up for a sluggish middle overs period. Many felt that LSG left the things a little too late when it comes to lifting off in the last few overs.
Rahul had made 26 in 17 balls in the powerplay but then batted safely instead of increasing the tempo of the LSG innings, hitting only one boundary in the next 7 overs as the asking rate shot up. LSG managed just 49 runs in the said period even as both Rahul and his partner Deepak Hooda were set.
"Every time he decided to play the big shot, it came off. He played a couple of terrific shots against Hazlewood. He can do it when he wants to but he just has this deep-rooted belief or approach that he wants to bat longer rather than quicker.
If I were the coach, I would just that decision out of his hand, even I were the captain. We have seen a lot of games where the teams would benefit immensely if KL Rahul had batted quicker rather than longer,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
Manjrekar said Rahul maybe not be temperamentally suited to playing the role of the main man in a batting unit, especially in T20 cricket and it's high time that the coaches free him up mentally.
"We have seen enough of KL Rahul to now know that when he becomes this player, this captain, the key player of the side. Virat Kohli loved that kind of responsibility, MS Dhoni loved it, and Rohit Sharma, barring this season, generally likes that of responsibility.
Maybe KL Rahul temperamentally is not suited to take this kind of responsibility where he is the man who has to get the job done. As a coach, I would drill that into his head that 'as a coach, I am not expecting you to win games, you just go and have fun',” Rahul added.
"That's why I believe he has a much better strike rate at the international level because he is one of the many batters like Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma so he just goes out there and expresses himself. The intention is right, he wants to win games for his side. Maybe he is not cut out. A strike rate of 120-130 until the 16th over, that's maybe leaving too much for the end," Manjrekar added.
KL Rahul ended the IPL 2022 with 616 runs in 15 matches at an average of 51.33 and strike rate of 135.38 with a best of 103*.