KL Rahul, the top-scorer for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, has been rewarded for his fine form with a spot in India’s ODI and T20I squads for the tour to England.
Rahul’s fine performances with the bat saw him amass 376 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 163 (stats prior to Game 41 against the Rajasthan Royals, which was when the squads were announced), but it was his already impressive Test, ODI and T20I career that gave him the nod ahead of players who have kept the scoreboard ticking during the IPL.
The Delhi Daredevils’ Rishabh Pant is one such example. Pant hammered 400 runs at more than 170 runs per 100 balls at the time the selectors handed out the tour nods, but poor form in his four T20Is to date (73 runs at an average of 24.33, S/R 105.79) made the decision to drop him in order to make way for the resurgent MS Dhoni. It was an easy call, albeit a tough one to swallow for the 20-year-old Pant, as Dhoni has scored 360 runs at an average of 90 (S/R 165.89) in the IPL this season.
Shreyas Iyer (351 runs) and Ambati Rayudu (423 runs) both got the nod to pad up for India’s ODI squad for the England tour after impressive performances in the IPL. Their strike rates have been in the region of 150 runs per 100 balls, although neither has been included in India’s T20I squad.
Paceman Siddarth Kaul (Sunrisers Hyderabad) has already picked up 13 wickets at an economy rate of just over seven during the tournament, and this form earned him a spot in both limited-overs international squads.
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
T20I squad for Ireland and England: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav.
NEWSFLASH: KL Rahul scored an undefeated 95 in his side’s unsuccessful chase-down of the 158 posted by the Royals. His innings took his series tally to 471 runs at an average of 58.87 (S/R 156.47).
Photo by: Rahul Gulati /SPORTZPICS for BCCI