In the past year or so, KL Rahul as emerged as one of the most valuable cricketers especially in the limited-overs format. Also Read - Mohammed Shami Confident of Getting Reverse Swing Despite Saliva Ban in Cricket Due to COVID-19
The India batsman has juggled between various batting roles be at the top-order as an opener, a middle order steel and even as a finisher. And he has successfully met the varied demands of the different batting spots. Also Read - MS Dhoni Always Knew my Capability, Gave me the License to Bat Freely: Suresh Raina
However, what makes him nearly an indispensable option to the Indian cricket team is the fact that he can keep wickets as well. With the ageing MS Dhoni nearing retirement and an inconsistent Rishabh Pant weighed down by the pressure, Rahul has stepped up to fill the gap. Also Read - Rohit Sharma And Virat Kohli Defining Pair For India in Modern Era: Kumar Sangakkara
But like Pant, Rahul too felt the immense pressure that comes when stepping into the shoes of someone like Dhoni who is widely regarded as one of the finest wicketkeeper of his generations.
“I was nervous when I was doing (wicketkeeping) it for India because of the crowd pressure. If you fumble a ball, people feel that you cannot replace MS Dhoni. The pressure of replacing a legendary wicket-keeper like MSD was immense as it involved people accepting someone else behind the stumps.” Rahul said on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected.
While Rahul may be new to the role of a wicketkeeper-batsman at the international stage, those who have followed him closely would know that he has been doing that in domestic cricket and the Indian Premier League.
“People who follow cricket know that I haven’t been away from wicket-keeping for too long as I donned the gloves in the IPL and every time I played for Karnataka. I am always in touch with wicket-keeping but am also somebody who is more than willing to take up the role if the team needs me to,” he said.