Mumbai: Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has claimed that the responsibility of leading a new franchise in Lucknow Super Giants is bringing the best out of opener KL Rahul in IPL 2022. Shastri also predicted that either Rahul or Rajasthan Royals opener Jos Buttler will take the Orange Cap home at the end of the tournament.
Rahul has been in glittering form in IPL 2022, making 265 runs in seven matches at an average of 44.17 and strike-rate of 141.71, including a century and fifty. As the captain of Super Giants, Rahul has led from the front in them picking eight points from seven matches to be fifth in the points table.
Rahul is far away from Buttler, who is the leading run-scorer with 491 runs at an average of 81.83 and strike-rate of 161.51, including three centuries and two fifties.
“He’s got a solid all-round game, the technique is good he’s got all the shots, great temperament, and good presence of mind. With the responsibility of leading a new franchise is getting the best out of him. You asked me at the start of the season, Orange Cap, I said KL Rahul because the openers have the best chance,” said Shastri on Cricket Live show on Star Sports.
“So, it will be between him and (Jos) Buttler. If you are an opening batsman who’s firing then your franchise is going to do well in the TATA IPL because those are not the players at the back who come and do the damage. If you get an opener who’s firing then it’s half the job done already,” added Shastri, a former India cricketer.
Ex-England skipper Kevin Pietersen agreed with Shastri’s assessment of Rahul in IPL 2022 and applauded the Bengaluru-based batter for consistency in run-making every year and showing maturity beyond his years in a high-pressure environment like the IPL.
“He’s such a dynamic player and that’s going to bear the fruit of his success for many a year. To continue scoring runs for different franchises is a damn hard (thing) to do because there’s so much pressure going into these new franchises. There’s so much pressure on you when you get bought for such big money.
“But when you have technique as solid as his, you’ve got a mindset as good as his, and you’re calm as much as he’s calm. And you can hear that in the way he talks to us. His presence of mind is so calm. He’s matured way beyond his age. He’ll just be proud of what he does and he’ll have to continue to make sure that he focuses on his job because captaincy aside, franchise aside, his team does well when he’s scored big runs.”
In Super Giants’ clash against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday, it will be a re-match of the afternoon fixture at Brabourne Stadium from April 16, where Rahul slammed a belligerent 103 to set up his team’s 18-run win.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar recalled how Rahul smashed Mumbai’s bowling attack.
“It is (was) fabulous to see the way he’s paced his innings (against Mumbai Indians). How he increased his tempo, how he went from one gear to second gear to third gear and towards the end (of the innings) he was into the fifth gear was fabulous.”