From having a disastrous test debut against Australia in 3rd test, Melbourne, Border-Gavaskar trophy, 2014 to go on to score the maiden test ton in the very next test match as an opener, Rahul has had quite an up and down journey in the international cricket till now. After a successful 2013-14 Ranji season where he scored 1033 runs, which included three centuries, three nineties, and a Man-of-the-Match performance in the final, ensuring Karnataka’s Ranji trophy victory and quite an impressive stint in the Australian tour of 2014-15 , KL Rahul was then expected to play the role of regular opener of India in tests. But injuries kept him away from the side and deprived him of the chance of serving as a full-time opener.
But, come the ninth edition of Indian Premier League , the Karnataka-born batsmen came to limelight once again. Rahul grabbed the opportunity of showcasing his talent not only with the bat but also behind the stumps, as he had quite an impressive season with Royal Challengers Banglore. He was one of the main reasons behind the team’s success this season and allowing them to reach the finals. In his 12 innings for the team this season, Rahul scored 397 runs at an average of 44.11, with a healthy strike rate of 146.49, including 4 half-centuries.
The recent performances helped Rahul get a call to the Zimbabwe tour of 2016 as he was named in the 16-member squad. In the very first ODI of the 3-match series, he scored a brilliant ton while chasing a target of 169. He became the first Indian batsman to score an ODI hundred on debut. He also became the first Indian batsman to score a hundred in both his debut innings as an opener in tests and ODIs.
If Rahul continues to have a purple patch, with MS Dhoni already retired from test cricket and BCCI struggling to find a full-time wicket-keeper for tests, due to Saha’s poor recent form, KL Rahul has a strong claim for the position of wicket-keeper batsman in tests. Both Saha and Rahul have been included in the upcoming tour of West Indies. It would be more than appropriate for the Indian team to settle with their hunt for a full-time test wicketkeeper before they face New Zealand and England at home, and as of now Rahul has the edge in that chase.