India’s Rahul hopes to hold on to dual roles with World Cups in mind

Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final – India v New Zealand – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – July 10, 2019 India’s KL Rahul reacts after losing his wicket Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/Files

SYDNEY – KL Rahul is enjoying his wicketkeeper-batsman role in India’s limited-overs squad and wants to hold on to the job with three World Cups looming in the next three years.

Part-time stumper Rahul kept wickets during India’s one-day series in New Zealand in February and reprized the role for Kings XI Punjab in this year’s Indian Premier League.

He will continue behind the stumps in the limited-overs series in Australia but denied it was part of India’s bigger plans keeping in mind the Twenty20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 and the 50-overs World Cup in 2023.

“I don’t think we as a team are thinking that far,” Rahul said in a virtual press conference ahead of Friday’s one-day series opener against Australia.

“Obviously World Cups are very, very important. That is the long vision for every team.

“If I keep putting up consistent performances with the bat and the gloves, it obviously gives us the option of playing an extra batter or an extra bowler.

“If the opportunity presents itself, and I can keep in all three World Cups, I’d love to do it.”

The versatile batsman owes his new role to the fickle form of Rishabh Pant, who was seen as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s natural successor behind the stumps.

Rahul said he learnt a lot from Dhoni, whose inputs from behind the stumps often helped the bowlers plot dismissals.

“I’ll probably give them (bowlers) feedback on what I feel can be a batter length or a better pace to bowl at, or if they are doing something wrong or if they can change the field set,” he added.

“I’ve done this in one series in New Zealand and I quite enjoyed it. Hopefully I can get better at reading games and give the bowlers and captain some good feedbacks from behind the stumps.”



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