KL Rahul Reveals Steve Smith, Kane Williamson Inspiration For Middle-Order Batting

Updated: 18 January 2020 11:24 IST

KL Rahul prepared for the challenge of batting in the middle-order by picking the brains of modern-day great Virat Kohli apart from watching videos of Steve Smith, Kane Williamson.

KL Rahul Reveals Steve Smith, Kane Williamson Inspiration For Middle-Order Batting
KL Rahul smashed a 52-ball 80 to help India post a match-winning score. © AFP

KL Rahul is most comfortable to bat as an opener but to deliver as a middle-order batsman, he prepared for the challenge by picking the brains of modern-day great Virat Kohli apart from watching videos of Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and AB de Villiers. Batting at number five, Rahul conjured up a 52-ball 80 to lead India to a formidable 340 for six against Australia in the second ODI, which the hosts won by 36 runs to level the series in Rajkot on Friday. In the first ODI, Rahul had batted at number three in place of his skipper Kohli, scoring 47 off 61 balls.

"I don't think technically I have practiced anything different. I just spoke a lot more to middle-order batsmen and watched a lot of videos. I spoke a lot to Virat (Kohli) and watched a lot of videos of AB (de Villiers) and Steve Smith for that matter and how they build their innings," Rahul said at post-match press conference.

"Kane Williamson is somebody I've tried to go back and watch some of his videos and see how he build his innings and how they play in certain situations. The only thing I'm trying to learn is how I can use my game and be better at a certain situation."

The 27-year-old Rahul insisted that he has got better at reading the game having played in different positions.

He has batted 17 times as an opener, thrice at number three, four times at number four, twice at number five and once at number 6. The last time he batted at number five was in August 2017 in Sri Lanka where he scored seven.

According to the stylish right-hander, he gets to learn about his batting while playing at number 3, 4 and 5.

"It is great challenge. I have been in decent form and very pretty confident about my skill, so coming up to every game and having a new responsibility and a new role is also a blessing, I don't think a lot of batsmen get that. That is how I look at this and I am enjoying my batting," he said

"I have always opened the batting so that's a position I am most comfortable with and I know how to build my innings but I get to learn so much about own self and about my batting and batting as an art, when I get to bat at 3, 4, 5."

Rahul emphasised that he is more than willing to bat in any position.

"It's a team game and anybody, it's not just me, anybody who's playing for the country will be willing to take up anything, any role that the team management gives us," he said.

Highlights
  • Rahul prepared for middle-order batting by watching Smith, Williamson
  • Rahul also said he spoke a lot to India skipper Virat Kohli
  • Rahul starred in India's 36-run win over Australia in the second ODI
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