Date – 13 August 2021
Venue – Lord’s, The Home Of Cricket
What’s special about the aforementioned? If you’re an ardent cricket fan, you might have already guessed it right. Haven’t you?
Well, that’s the day when history was created at the home of cricket as the Indian opener, KL Rahul, who was not even in contention to play a match in the ongoing series smashed a dazzling ton and became the only 10th Indian to achieve this feat at Lord’s. He scored 129 off 250 balls to help India post 364 runs on the board in India’s first innings of Lord’s Test.
Who are the remaining 9?
1.Vinoo Mankad (1952)
2. Dilip Vengsarkar (1979, 1982, 1986)
3. Gundappa Viswanath (1979)
4. Ravi Shastri (1990)
5. Mohammad Azharuddin (1990)
6. Sourav Ganguly (1996)
7. Ajit Agarkar (2002)
8. Rahul Dravid (2011)
9. Ajinkya Rahane (2014)
10. KL Rahul (2021)
Well, that’s how it looks. Soon, it will be engraved in Gold.
While the majority of the Indian batters struggled on the England pitch against dukes, KL Rahul kept giving it back to the likes of James Anderson and Ollie Robinson. Starting from where he left in Antigua 2019, KL Rahul gave a smooth start to his Test career and team India as well.
His agenda was clear – “Watch The Ball, Play It Late”
From leaving outside off-stump balls to playing close to the body, everything looked improved, and most probably it is one of the reasons why the Indian opener is not striving against the moving balls.
After almost giving his A-class show in both the Tests, the Karnataka-born has now earned that opening slot, which was first marked for his friend and Karnataka opener Mayank Agarwal. From not even being considered in the playing XI to putting his name on the honours board at the Lord’s, KL has come a long way. Isn’t he?
It wasn’t an opportunity that was served on a plate but he had to fight a long battle before coming out as a number 1 opening choice for team India in the ongoing tour. Mayank Agarwal is second while Rohit Sharma’s place is not questionable.
After Shubman Gill was ruled out of the entire tour and returned back to India, Mayank Agarwal was expected to open the innings for Team India alongside Rohit Sharma. However, one day before the opening Test at Nottingham, Mayank Agarwal too ruled out of the opening Test after suffering a concussion. Agarwal was hit by a short delivery from Mohammed Siraj in the nets.
Agarwal’s injury, however, was like a blessing in disguise for KL Rahul, who was not even considered in the playing XI for the upcoming series. And it was August 4 in Nottingham, when Indian skipper Virat Kohli announced that the 29-year old is going to open the innings for team India in the opening Test.
Sabina Park, Kingston 2019 – India vs West Indies was the last Test match Rahul played for team India before being dropped for almost 2 years. And now he was going to don the white jersey for team India again for almost 2 years.
Nervousness? Well, what’s that? replied KL Rahul’s bat in Nottingham.
After smashing 84 off 214 deliveries in India’s first innings in the Nottingham Test, Rahul almost fixed his spot at the top next to Rohit Sharma. His 26 off 38 in India’s second innings can’t be ignored too.
KL Rahul, who was considered as one of the part-time openers for team India ahead of the 5-Match Test series has now become one of the ‘must have’ batsmen for visitors.
Rahul and Rohit’s 126 runs stand for the first wicket in India’s first innings of Lord’s Test, was the first-century stand by Indian openers outside Asia in Tests since the start of 2011. Isn’t it interesting? May be amusing.
The last Indian duo to do so was Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir (137) in Centurion back in 2010.
84 off 124
26 off 38
129 off 250
Well, these are the numbers that are enough to prove why we need KL Rahul at the top alongside Rohit Sharma in the longest format of the game. Mayank Agarwal? Well, he still needs to fight for his spot in the playing XI. Pujara and Rahane’s continuous failure in England might give him a chance later.