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Indian Premier League 2023

‘Certain players have to take responsibility’ – KL Rahul reiterates ‘strike rate is over-rated’ stance

Lucknow Super Giants captain KL Rahul
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

KL Rahul has stood by his opinion that “strike rate is over-rated” in T20 cricket, speaking today (March 7, 2023) at Lucknow Super Giants’ kit launch ahead of the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023).

Speaking back in 2020 after a defeat in the IPL, Rahul explained how he felt runs scored per 100 balls was a metric used too often to evaluate a batter’s contribution in the shortest format. “Strike-rates are very, very overrated,” Rahul said. “For me, it’s only about how I can win games for my team. And if on a certain day I think a strike-rate of 120 can win the game for my team, I will do that. This is how I bat and I would like to take responsibility as a leader. We all make mistakes, I’m not saying I have not made a few mistakes but you learn each day as a leader, as a batter.”

The comment prompted significant debate at the time, not least because of the perceived change in Rahul’s own approach. He struck at 153.71 in the IPL between 2016 and 2018, but that figure has dropped to 134.53 since then. His average has risen from 45.91 to 55.67 in the two periods. Similarly in international cricket, he struck at 146.10 in the first four years of his T20I career but that has dropped to 128.02 in the three years since then.


Speaking to an auditorium at Lucknow Super Giants’ kit launch, Rahul answered a question about whether he stood by his stance that strike rate is over-rated.

“I’ve said it before, I think it [strike rate] is over-rated,” he said. “You need to also look at the context of the game, if you’re chasing 140 there is no need for you to score at a 200 strike rate. There are players in the team that we will encourage to play their natural game and there will be certain players that will have to take the responsibility of seeing the team through. It’s based on that particular day and particular situation and what the two batsmen in the middle and what the team overall feels like is the best way to play.”

He also explained how, in his view, playing for the team rather than aiming for a target strike rate was more likely to bring rewards.

“You try and assess and create a plan in your mind the best you know, as a player, and then you try and give it your best performance,” he said. “Some days it will work, some days it may not work. But for players it becomes really simple when you think about what you need to do on that particular day and not be stubborn and think ‘I have to play like this’. Even when I say it, when I say ‘I have to play like this’, it’s about you, it’s not about the team. When you view it, please view it as, what do the two batsmen in the middle need to do for the team, whether they are playing for team India or for team Lucknow, what do they need to do in that current situation to make sure their team wins. That is more important.”

Lucknow Super Giants finished fourth in IPL 2022, and tied for second on points in the group standings, but are joint-seventh favourites in the IPL betting for 2023.

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