In the pre-match press conference on the eve of Cardiff T20I, Rahul said: "I love to bat at the top of the order. One and two is what I am most comfortable at. I got a chance to bat early (in first T20I) despite batting at number three as Shikhar (Dhawan) got out early. It felt like I was opening the batting and it gives me a chance to get my eye in. Whatever chances I get I have to make the most of it. I felt happy that I got a chance to bat up the order."
The reason why Rahul hasn't been able to open the innings is because of the presence of team India's trusted duo Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
However, Rahul has showed in the recent past that he is most effective when he is opening the innings for the team. In this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), Rahul finished as third top-scorer of the league while opening the batting for Kings XI Punjab.
Rahul's biggest strength has been his consistency, something which Sharma cannot boast of, considering his batting records in the past few series. Rahul smashed 659 runs in 14 IPL innings while as for Sharma, he managed a meagre 286 in same number of innings.
Sharma's form deserted him in the South Africa series as well, where apart from one century (115 in the fifth ODI), he could muster only 170 runs in six innings. Moreover, in the 3 T20I innings that he played against the Proteas, he could only score a combined total of 32 runs.
Against Ireland, Sharma started the series with a bang and smashed 97 in the first T20I but his inconsistency came to the fore in the second, where he was dismissed for a duck. In the same match Rahul struck a majestic fifty and carried that form onto the next match, where he tore apart the English bowling line-up to shreds in Manchester.
The ball is now in the court of the India think-tank that are they brave enough to tinker with the tried and tested opening pair of Dhawan and Sharma or will Rahul get a chance to bat at his favourite batting position.
First Published: July 6, 2018, 2:38 PM IST