With less than 10 days left for the ODI World Cup to start, the fans are divided about India’s Playing XI in the tournament. The form of Suryakumar Yadav in the ongoing series against Australia has meant that the discussions regarding having him at number 6 have strengthened. That has led to fans debating on having only one among KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer as India’s number 4.
The squad for the ODI World Cup is named in such a way that there are backups in every possible way. But it is also framed in such a way that a player has the capabilities to fit in different roles. For example, Rahul can bat as an opener, as a middle order batter, keep the wickets, and lead the side if necessary. That makes the squad a lot more dynamic, which leads to the difficulty of picking the apt XI.
Here are the three reasons why India should select KL Rahul over Shreyas Iyer if such a case arises.
3. Wicketkeeping abilities
It is obvious that Rahul will be the wicketkeeper of the side. There is no way Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma would not be opening for the Indian team. That leaves India with one to pick among Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul. Though Kishan scored 82 against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 as a middle order batter, his numbers have otherwise been not that good, especially at number 4 and 5.
On the other hand, Rahul can be reliable as a wicketkeeper and as a batter. He has the experience of batting at number 4 and 5 for a long time. Either way, Rahul has all but sealed his place in the Playing XI purely because of his wicket keeping abilities. Even after the injury, Rahul has shown that he can keep wickets. It makes Iyer’s case a bit more difficult.
2. Better touch since comeback
KL Rahul returned to the side with a bang in the Asia Cup 2023. Both him and Iyer were injured around the similar timeline, during or before the IPL 2023, and were unavailable for selection in the team till the Asia Cup 2023. Before the tournament, both the players were picked for the squad. Unfortunately, Iyer sustained an injury even during the tournament and did not play enough games.
Since his comeback, Iyer’s scores have been 14(9) against Pakistan, 3(8) against Australia, and 105(90) against Australia. On the other hand, KL Rahul’s scores since comeback have been 111*(106) against Pakistan, 39(44) against Sri Lanka, 19(39) against Bangladesh, 58*(63) against Australia, and 52(38) against Australia. Without a doubt, Rahul has been in a better touch than Iyer since the comeback.
KL Rahul is a versatile batter. The Indian batter has been in the team since 2016 and has played in various positions. As an opener, Rahul has 915 runs in 23 innings at an average of 43.57, at a strike rate of 79.70. As a number 4, Rahul has 481 runs in 11 innings at an average of 60.13, at a strike rate of 88.42. At number 5, Rahul has 781 runs in 19 innings at an average of 52.07, at a strike rate of 98.74.
On the other hand, Iyer has 642 runs in 11 innings at number 3 at an average of 58.36, at a strike rate of 97.72. At number 4, Iyer has 819 runs in 21 innings at an average of 45.50, at a strike rate of 95.01. At number 5, Iyer has 292 runs in 9 innings at an average of 32.44, at a strike rate of 105.04. Rahul has better exposure in different positions compared to Iyer and is versatile in nature.
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