In the ongoing India vs South Africa series, Indian captain KL Rahul is batting as an opener. Although Rahul is a genuine opener, in recent months, he has played at No.5 in the middle-order in ODI cricket. However, with Rohit Sharma missing, KL Rahul and the management took the decision of having him at the top. That said, going forward, it appears better that the cricketer returns back to the middle-order. In this article, we take a look at two reasons why KL Rahul should play in the middle-order for India in ODIs.
1) Team India needs experience in the middle-order
One of the main reasons why KL Rahul should play in the middle-order for India in ODIs is because Team India needs experience in the middle-order. For far too long now, the Indian middle-order has struggled. While Rishabh Pant takes up one spot, none of the other spots after No.3 is filled. With the ODI World Cup nearing, it would be best if India does not try any new options.
KL Rahul, who has scored 453 runs in 10 games at No.5, is the best option for now. He is experienced and has a wide range of shots to help India in the death overs. With him batting at No.5, Pant at No.4 can play his natural game, further benefitting India.
2) KL Rahul has an inferior strike rate as an opener
While KL’s strike rate as an opener is around 80, at No.5, he plays at a strike rate of 113. For an opener, especially in the current era of ODI cricket, it is an underwhelming record by KL Rahul. Also, Rohit Sharma also plays in a similar way. Hence, India cannot afford two such players at the top.
On the other hand, Rahul has found success in the middle-order. It appears that he plays his natural game as a finisher in ODIs. Therefore, it is best for India if he shifts to a middle-order role. One more factor with KL moving down is that India then gets a chance to have a right-left combination at the top. In the full-strength team, if KL Rahul plays as an opener, he will be Rohit Sharma‘s partner. Hence, the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Ishan Kishan might not get a chance.