Australia vs India, 1st Test: What does yet another failure for KL Rahul mean for his Test career?

Amarjeet Nayak

Josh Hazlewood celebrates after dismissing KL Rahul

KL Rahul is a player with exceptional potential and has the backing of both Indian captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri. However, he has been extremely inconsistent, especially in the longer format of the game.

Despite his continued poor form interspersed by just a few high scores once in a while, the Indian think has continued to show their faith in his ability, rather than the actual performance. But his frustrating ways of getting out early has started to exasperate even them as well.

This was reflected in the way the Indian batting coach Sanjay Bangar had commented as to how Rahul was finding “new ways to get out” after his first innings failure in the warm-up game and how he needed to take more responsibility.

He is no longer new to Test cricket. He has already played more than thirty matches. His average of around 37 may not be that shabby, but that is mostly because of his five centuries and a run of fifty plus scores he had scored on a trot last year. But he has now gone on an extended lean patch. It is hurting India’s cause big time.

One is not sure if he would have got a chance to play if Prithvi Shaw was not injured. However, at this point, it seems he is not in the mental space to play a ball according to its merit in the longest version of the game. That is what the manner of his dismissal in the Adelaide Test showed.

The ball from Josh Hazlewood was full, but well outside the off stump to attempt playing at such an early stage of the innings. But he went for an expansive drive and duly nicked it to the third slip. He played an instinctive limited over format shot, which showed a lack of clarity as to how to approach his batting.

There is no doubting Rahul’s talent. But it’s time Kohli and co. take the right call. Unless he scores big in the second innings, his further inclusion in India’s squad this series, will not only be detrimental to India’s cause, but also to his own confidence.

Time is ticking away for Rahul. He needs to be sent back to domestic circuit and get his batting in order. He is still young and with his talent, his Test career is certainly not yet over.