Dravid not concerned over KL Rahul's form; backs the opener to comeback strong
KL Rahul has failed in all three of India's Super 12 games in the competition so far, proving to be a headache for the think-tank.
Head coach Rahul Dravid played down suggestions of needing to have a word with opening batter KL Rahul in relation to his persistent struggles during the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia. Dravid said he is "not at all" bothered by the Indian opener's iffy form at the top of the order in the team's three games so far.
Speaking to the press from Adelaide ahead of India's next match versus Bangladesh on Wednesday (November 2), Dravid backed Rahul to comeback to his very best as he approaches the business end of the competition.
KL Rahul's footwork and temperament has been in question over the past one week, with the elegant right-hander looking shaky at the top against the new ball. Rahul's initial struggles have set a negative tone for each of the Indian innings.
The batter got out for 4 off 8 versus Pakistan, before struggling for any flow through his stints of 9 off 12 and 9 off 14 against the Netherlands and South Africa, respectively. When asked about the same, however, Dravid highlighted the player's superquick half-century in the warm-up game with hosts Australia to suggest he is in good form.
Dravid stands firm behind KL Rahul
"No, not at all," he said when asked if he feels the need to have a word with KL Rahul. "I think he's a fantastic player and he's got a proven track record. He's done really well. I thought he's been batting superbly. These things can happen in a T20 game sometimes. It's been a tough -- it's not been that easy for the sort of top order batsmen."
"This tournament has been pretty challenging. I thought he was superb -- maybe a lot of you were not there, but in the practice game against Australia with Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins. It was a pretty good attack, and I thought he batted superbly that day."
For Dravid, the conditions in Australia haven't been easy for batting in what happens to be a top-end tournament, taking place in October-November rather than the height of the summer in February-March. With rain around the country, the surfaces have spiced up across venues and offered the seamers lateral movement in the air and off the deck, apart from the characteristic steep bounce.
That, the coach mentioned, maybe a strong reason behind Rahul not going after the bowling immediately despite the powerplay restriction. Besides his technique, KL Rahul has also had question marks resurfacing on his intent with bat in hand.
"In these conditions, maybe we are able to afford him that time," Dravid stressed. "And like I said, to answer the question, we completely back him. We have no concerns about him. We know that when he gets going, and I've seen it against Australia, against a top-class attack just a couple of weeks ago, I know the impact this guy can make."
"I think in Rohit's and my mind, there's absolutely no doubt about who's going to open for us. In this format, the nature -- I think every wicket is different. I think you've just got to -- that's one of the things, again, this tournament has shown playing in different parts of Australia. The grounds are so different. Certainly playing in Perth the other night where the boundaries were 80 yards. We come here, and it's certainly different. The kind of shots you'll play here (Adelaide) will be very different to the kind of shots you'll play at Perth."
"I think that's the uniqueness of that. If the conditions so dictate that the ball is nipping around doing a bit, then we can afford our batsmen to maybe be a little bit more conservative, keep wickets in hand and then target. I think it's about adapting and being smart," he added amidst speculations rife on the back of Rahul's approach at the top whether India are reverting from their aggressive ways under Dravid.