Senior batter KL Rahul has indicated that skipper Rohit Sharma wants him to become the team’s mainstay at No.5, which will improve his batting in the middle overs and also help the wicketkeeper-batter become a better player of spin bowling.
Rahul scored an unbeaten 64 off 103 balls as he gradually consolidated India’s position in the second ODI at the Eden Gardens after they were 86 for four in the chase of Sri Lanka’s 215.
“Batting at No. 5 has helped me understand my game better. At No. 5, you have to face spin straightaway; I like balls coming onto the bat but Rohit (Sharma) has been pretty clear that he wants me to bat at No. 5, so that’s what I am trying to do,” said Rahul after India won the match by four wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Rahul also loves batting at No.5 as it gives him some time to relax after keeping wickets and is not in a tearing hurry to once again pad-up and get ready.
“The good thing about batting at No. 5 is you don’t have to rush. You can take a shower, put your feet up and watch the game. But I always think what team needs of me. If you can read the situation when you go in, it helps you and the team.” Rahul added that initially, India were looking to chase a target in the vicinity of 280-300 runs as it was a good batting track. He gave credit to the home team bowlers for dismissing Sri Lanka for 215 in 39.4 overs.
“I won’t say it was a flat wicket, or it was doing a lot that it was impossible to bat. When Sri Lanka started, I thought it was a 280-300 wicket. But our bowlers bowled really well to keep them to 220-odd,” said Rahul.
“But they put up a good fight, got early breakthroughs to put us under pressure. But I had a good partnership with Shreyas (Iyer) and Hardik (Pandya). We always try to find a way to win, and it was nice to cross the line in the end.” He said that despite India losing four wickets early, there was no hurry to finish off the match as the target was always well within reach.
“In Guwahati (first ODI), the openers put the pressure on the opposition. Then your mind-set is to attack, doesn’t matter who is bowling. Today, we lost early wickets, so it was important to soak the pressure. If we are chasing 280-300, then we would attack him. But today there was no need,” he added.