KL Rahul the shining light in India’s opening predicament in England

English conditions have perenially been a tough nut to crack for openers hailing from the subcontinent, as the vitriolic Dukes leaves techniques exposed and egos buried. The numbers lay bare India’s travails fair and square. Save for KL Rahul who has compiled two fifty-plus scores on England’s soil since 2018, no other Indian opener has been able to breach the 50-run milestone in the last 17 innings put together. Rohit Sharma has flattered to deceive a couple of times, bitten by the thirties bug on the green pastures of England.

Under the pump after a slew of pedestrian outings, KL Rahul finished the 2018 tour on a high, creaming 149 off 224 deliveries to help India avert a whitewash in the fifth and final Test. Returning to opening duties in the absence of Mayank Agarwal, the elegant right-hander has raised a fifty chockfull of class in the ongoing first Test at Trent Bridge. Interestingly, these are his only two 50-plus scores in his last 13 Tests including this one, after having passed fifty on 10 occasions in 12 Tests prior to that point of calculation.

While trigger movement quandaries and a bat that came down at an angle left him a sitting duck versus quality swing bowling earlier, Rahul is batting like a breeze in the Test underway, having constructed an eye-pleasing 77 before Lunch was taken on Day 3. His 46-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja has not only re-established order amid the chaos but also bolted up the perfect launchpad for India to garner a significant first-innings lead.

Broadcast Schedule

England v West Indies 2024
ENG v WI 2nd Test, Trent Bridge
18th July to 22nd July
Start time: 11:00 am BST
ENG v WI 3rd Test, Edgbaston
26th July to 30th July
Start time: 11:00 am BST