For more than a year now, KL Rahul has been struggling with the bat in Test matches.
Given the amount of Test cricket India has been playing recently, this raises the obvious question: Will KL Rahul’s poor form with the bat in Test matches have an impact on the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2023?
Despite the opening batsman getting dropped from the Indian Test side recently, we say he’ll be just fine in T20s—including when he captains the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2023 in less than a month’s time.
The Woeful Form of KL Rahul in Test Matches Ahead of the IPL 2023
Right now, India are playing Australia in the fourth and final Test match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy. For the Indian players, this is one final chance to prove their form ahead of the likely World Test Championship final in June.
Except for KL Rahul, it’s an opportunity to practice his form as a water boy.
The opening batsman, who has played 47 Test matches for India, was replaced by Shubman Gill after failing to fire in the first two Tests. This lack of runs was not a one-off—in fact, it’s been well over a year since KL Rahul did anything decent with a bat in Test cricket.
January 2022 was the last time Rahul scored a half century in Tests. Since then, he’s scored the following: 8, 12, 10, 22, 23, 10, 2, 20, 17 and 1. Not exactly earth-shattering stuff.
With Rahul’s form in a serious dip, there was no space for him in the side heading into the third and fourth Tests against Australia, particularly with a player such as Shubman Gill waiting on the side lines. But is this a concern for the IPL 2023?
IPL 2023: Rahul’s Test Form Not a Concern
In short, we say no.
KL Rahul has been known to suffer lulls in form, and bounce back spectacularly. The Lucknow Super Giant’s captain in the IPL 2023 has been around for the better part of a decade, and his pedigree is well known. Perhaps the T20 format is exactly what he needs, to rekindle his red ball striking.
Over the past year, Rahul’s form in T20s has been quite contrasting to his red ball figures. In just the second half of 2022 alone, Rahul scored six half centuries in the shortest format of the game. Add to this his two half centuries in ODIs over the past three months, and the equation is looking quite different for Rahul.
Perhaps he simply needs to be put in a position where he’s able to play his natural game and swing freely. Opening the batting for the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2023 is exactly that opportunity for KL Rahul.
Gambhir Weighs in on Rahul’s Form
Former Indian captain Gautam Gambhir, who is mentoring the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2023, has weighed in on KL Rahul’s form.
Speaking about the opening batsman, Gambhir had this to say, “Every player goes through things like these in his or her career. Name one player who has been consistent right from the start, till the end of his career. Sometimes these things are good. These things should hurt you and if they are hurting, it's good for you.”
With Gambhir believing that the dropping from India’s starting XI will motivate Rahul, he also spoke into what he believes Rahul’s role could be for the Super Giants in the IPL 2023, saying, “It isn't important to make 600 runs, make only 400 or 500 runs but in the winning cause for your team.”
With the IPL 2023 start date rapidly looming, we’ll know the answer to these questions shortly.