Rahul answers India’s number four conundrum with Cardiff ton
(Reuters) – KL Rahul’s century in Tuesday’s warm-up match against Bangladesh suggested he could be the answer to India’s search for a reliable number four batsman at the World Cup but the right-hander says he is happy to bat anywhere.
Two-time champions India continue to fret over the problematic batting position after a number of candidates failed their auditions in the buildup to the World Cup.
Chief selector MSK Prasad had made it clear that all-rounder Vijay Shankar was the first choice for the spot while Rahul, generally an opening batsman, was another option.
Batting at number four, Rahul managed only six in Saturday’s warm-up match against New Zealand but followed it up with 108 off 99 balls in their 95-run victory in Cardiff.
Rahul’s assured innings, which included 12 boundaries and four sixes, seems to have sealed the deal with Indian captain Virat Kohli saying his contribution was the “biggest positive” from the game.
“I’m really happy with how I’ve bounced back and this gives me lots of confidence,” Rahul told reporters after the game.
“Where I play is not for me to decide. It’s a team game and you need to be flexible. You need to be ready to bat, whatever role you are given, you have to take what is thrown at you.”
Rahul built a 164-run partnership for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored a century of his own, to give India a commanding total of 359.
“(Dhoni) just dominated the spinners and is striking the ball so well,” Rahul added. “It’s a great sign for us and it’s just a pleasure to watch him from the other end when he is playing like that.”
India begin their quest for a third World Cup title on June 5 when they take on South Africa at The Rose Bowl.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)