@swaris16 3 minute read
KL Rahul walked out to bat at No.11 in a run chase of 127 after injuring his leg and limping off the field in the second over of the Royal Challengers Bangalore innings tonight (May 1). However, with the upcoming World Test Championship final and the World Cup, should he have risked himself?
Lucknow Super Giants are currently third in the points table, with five wins from nine games. They were dealt an early blow in the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday when skipper Rahul hobbled out after injuring himself while diving to save a four. Krunal Pandya, who stepped in as captain in his absence, confirmed Rahul had injured his “hip flexor”.
Despite grimacing in pain, Rahul denied the stretcher as he left the ground, and had padded up midway through the Lucknow innings. Commentators informed that he had taken part in “light training” during the innings break. With a small target to chase, the camp might not have expected Rahul to actually walk out to bat. However, LSG kept losing regular wickets and were reduced to 103-9 with Rahul as the last batter in the dugout.
At this point, LSG needed 24 in eight balls – not impossible but improbable. Amit Mishra, with a T20 strike rate of 98, was batting on a 25-ball 15, and the match was as good as lost. Considering the extent of his injury, Rahul had the option of not batting, but he walked out instead to take strike against Josh Hazlewood, who was bowling at his fiery best after returning from a long injury layoff himself.
Rahul swung at the three balls he faced but did not find the boundary, and denied the singles. Lucknow were bowled out for 108, with Mishra falling for a 30-ball 19 to the penultimate ball of the innings. Rahul’s high-risk act, thus, amounted to five runs to Lucknow’s total.
I don't think KL Rahul should be out there batting. There is nothing to gain, no match to win with him in that state.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 1, 2023
Lucknow had used Ayush Badoni as their Impact Player, substituting out Yash Thakur and not Rahul. In this season’s opening game, against the Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Titans had used Sai Sudharsan as Impact Player for the injured Kane Williamson. Lucknow wanted to have a specialist batter in case the game got close, but Thakur was fit and would have been more effective if quick singles were the need of the hour. On the other hand, Rahul was likelier than Thakur to hit a six or two.
India can also ill-afford Rahul getting injured at this point. With Rishabh Pant out for the foreseeable future, Rahul is India’s primary ODI wicketkeeper ahead of the 50-over World Cup. He is also one of three openers in the World Test Championship final squad, and in the absence of a second wicketkeeper, the only one with relevant experience.
Rahul also has an unfortunate history with injuries. He has missed a number of tours and series throughout his career, and could have reserved his energy and his fitness for international duty instead of increasing the risk of a long-term injury for a franchise game that was as good as lost.