IPL 2024 – RCB vs LSG – KL Rahul – LSG to take a call on captain closer to start of RCB match

Lucknow Super Giants will take a late call on KL Rahul’s participation – whether in part or more – in Tuesday’s away fixture against Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Rahul played as an impact substitute in Saturday’s home game against Punjab Kings, with the LSG management keen on “easing him back” from injury.

IPL 2024 is Rahul’s comeback tournament after a quadricep injury ruled him out of the last four Tests of the five-match series at home against England earlier this year. Rahul had pulled up with the same injury – against RCB, incidentally – during IPL 2023, and had to undergo surgery followed by lengthy rehabilitation.

“We’ll see how he goes at training,” stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran said when asked about Rahul’s availability on Tuesday.

At training, Rahul stayed away from keeping wickets entirely. He first underwent a series of timed sprint and mobility drills that were monitored by head coach Justin Langer. Rahul then practiced the full range of his body movements while playing the sweep in particular and felt his left hamstring repeatedly. He then occupied a quiet corner of the field and kept a close eye on the session for more than an hour. Later, he examined at length the slightly unusual M Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch that had more than a smattering of grass right through the 22 yards.

Rahul also padded up and went out for a hit against the team’s net bowlers and throwdown specialists. After a 15-minute session, he got back to finishing a few more rounds of mobility drills before walking off to have another long chat with Langer.

“It’s always tough when you have to change combinations,” Pooran said when asked how Rahul’s absence on the field had impacted the team so far. “Obviously, it’s different with KL on the field. But our senior players came together and assisted me in making decisions as well. It’s something that happens. Sometimes when your captain isn’t available, all the senior players stand up, and try and make up for his absence.”

LSG have one win and one loss in two games so far, with Rahul returning scores of 58 (in 44 balls, vs Rajasthan Royals) and 15 (in nine balls, vs Punjab Kings). He kept wickets only in the first game, before handing over the responsibility to Quinton de Kock for the second.

Rahul is among the contenders for the wicketkeeper-batter’s slot in India’s T20 World Cup squad.

Leading into the IPL 2024 season, there had been debate among observers whether he would bat in the middle order to play a similar role he plays for with the national team. So far, Rahul has opened in both matches.

“I am not going lose one second’s sleep over KL Rahul,” Langer had said on his regular captain last week. “He is a beautiful player, he’s an outstanding player. There’s a reason he’s had so much success for India and I’m blessed to have him in our team, not only as an opening batsman or a batsman and wicketkeeper, but also as the captain. He is so calm. He’s a wonderful person.”

Leave a Comment