KL Rahul will probably light up this tournament, says Gautam Gambhir: T20 World Cup

New Delhi: India’s tense five-run win over Bangladesh in their Men’s T20 World Cup Group 2 match at Adelaide Oval saw KL Rahul put a full-stop to a string of single-digit scores in the tournament with an elegant 32-ball 50 to bounce back in form.

Rahul’s knock was decorated with three fours and four sixes at a strike-rate of 156.25. He showcased high quality shots in a knock full of poise and composure. Now, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir believes that Rahul will light up the tournament as the race for the semifinals heats up.

“When he got a fifty against Australia (in the practice match) in Brisbane, everyone was going crazy. He is probably going to light up this World Cup. A bad innings does not make you a bad player, neither does it make you a great player. So, you probably need to be more balanced. You got to give them time and then that one shot over point probably changed everything.

“He is back in form, and he was always in form. Yes, there are times when you want to contribute, you know that this is a World Cup and the entire world is looking at you. And if you haven’t had the best of starts, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad player,” said Gambhir on ‘Cricket Live’ show on Star Sports.

Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar further explained how the honest feedback Rahul received during his lean run after entering international cricket has led to a positive impact on his game, “See, KL Rahul has been along for a long time now. He made his debut in Australia 2014/15. I was part of that tour that time. He has a special ability. He scored a 100 in his second match. So, we all knew he’s a special player, who is going to serve India for a long time.”

“His technique is tremendous, and times like this when you’ve had poor scores, you certainly require the support of your team-mates, not only lip service, but honest discussions as well. That’s where that honest feedback from somebody, who has seen you from a very young age and seen the progress you’ve made during the course of your career has been tremendous and that’s where KL Rahul was special.

“His innings actually for the first five-six balls, the way he left those deliveries, which meant he wasn’t inching, he wasn’t rushing through, and that there was a calmness around him. That helped him get that innings of substance.”

With India now in sight of a spot in the semifinals, Gambhir felt apart from Rahul, captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Hardik Pandya have to deliver with the bat. “If India have to win the World Cup, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (if he comes in the playing eleven), these three have to deliver along with Hardik Pandya, who is an X-factor.”

“So, yes, he’s back in form and hopefully he can continue this form and be as aggressive as he can be, because no one can stop him, the way he wants to play, only he can stop him.”

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