India will not even consider dropping KL Rahul after two poor performances in the T20 World Cup, India coach Vikram Rathore said ahead of their Super 12 Group 2 match against South Africa in Perth on Sunday. Indian vice-captain Rahul scored 1 out of 4 against Pakistan and 9 out of 12 against Netherlands. More than the scores, it is Rahul’s predictable way of approaching the innings at the top of the order that worries the Indian team management. But Rathur’s comments yielded nothing. He confirmed that there was no way he could actually shoot the stylish right-hander.
“No. We are not thinking about it,” Rathur has ruled out the idea of Pant’s inclusion for now. “I think that’s a good enough sample size anyway. Practice games. So we won’t change anything,” Rathore said at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
India have no other designated player in the squad for this World Cup, but Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav have opened in this format.
While Pant is an absolute match winner, Dinesh Karthik also finds it difficult to include him in the same playing XI. Also, the 37-year-old is unlikely to be left out of the playing XI as Karthik has a certain role to play in the team.
“Unfortunately only 11 players can play, I know and understand that Rishabh is a fantastic player and we know he can be destructive to any opponent,” Rathoor said.
Although Rathur wanted to soften the blow, it was clear that they were not thinking about Pant.
“The message is ready for him and your opportunity can come anytime. He has to be mentally and physically ready. He’s doing that and you’ve seen him training regularly. I’m sure he’ll be ready when the opportunity comes,” Rathore said. It sounds a bit hollow when you try to read between the lines.
When asked why Rahul had a calmer approach to the Powerplay than Rohit Sharma, he admitted that things will change once he gets back into form.
“Each player has his own way of playing and building his innings. A good partnership is one where each complements the other. If Rahul is in good form, he can also be the aggressor,” added the former Punjab strongman.
He also said that there is no conscious role model in Virat Kohli’s approach.
“Not really. It depends on the situation and we pride ourselves on being a team that adapts to the conditions. He (Kohle) is good enough to change his game according to the situation. He has done that brilliantly and we expect him to continue to do that,” he said.
The coach also believes that there won’t be many 200-plus scores in this World Cup.”Playing with intent is the goal. We’ll be looking to score runs but we’ll try to adapt to the conditions. I don’t think it’s a 200-plus wicket, so we’ll have to adapt,” Rathore said.