POINTS TABLE | FIXTURES
“For Punjab to go up in the points table, KL Rahul must not worry about others,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for Eagles Vine on Saturday.
“One of the many points of interest for me in this tournament was KL Rahul, the captain, and the possible effects of captaincy on his batting. First thing first, Rahul is just a sensational player, who plays the modern 360-degrees game like few others; and he is the only one who makes it look classical,” the cricketer cum commentator added.
Rahul began the tournament in a whirlwind fashion, with a century and a fifty but a change of approach in the last 2-3 matches has led to low scores and a fall in his strike rate, which currently reads 136.68.
While the KXIP skipper has come on record to say that “strike rate is very, very overrated”, Manjrekar believes that Rahul’s ability to play the unconventional strokes with ease is priceless and he must make full use of it.
“Nothing goes out of sync or harmony when he plays those ‘out of the book’ shots. They look as beautiful and as classy as his cover drive,” Manjrekar wrote, before making a mention of his prolific past in the IPL.
“Rahul’s breakthrough year in the tournament (IPL) was 2018, when we saw this incredible T20 batsman emerge. He matched the T20 legends, especially when it came to strike rate. He scored an amazing 659 runs that season at a mind-boggling strike rate of 158 (158.41).
“The next season, though, I saw a change. He was not batting with as much freedom. He seemed to be just holding back a gear. It was a clear case of a batsman who could score more quickly, but wasn’t prepared to,” Manjrekar reckoned.
The drop in Rahul’s strike-rate this season, wrote Manjrekar, is similar to the trend in Rahul’s batting graph of 2019.
“When I looked at his numbers that season (2019), the strike rate had dropped significantly, in the 130s (135.38). This year too his strike rate is again in the same region of 130.”
On a concluding note, Manjrekar refused to buy the argument that captaincy was weighing Rahul down.
“I don’t think it’s as much the captaincy responsibility that’s weighing him down as much as Rahul himself putting a greater prize on his wicket post 2018.”