One of the most prominent figures in the world of cricket, KL Rahul has had an intriguing career trajectory filled with ups and downs. The right-handed batsman hailing from Bengaluru, Karnataka is an exciting player who has excelled on the international stage on multiple occasions. However, before we delve deeper into his career and statistics, let’s first explore KL Rahul’s significance in the national team.
While his form can be a bit inconsistent, KL Rahul is still a bankable player in both international cricket as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL), someone who steps up for his team when it matters most. Known for his impeccable batting technique, Rahul prefers to be at the top of the order and open the batting for his team. However, he has also been seen batting in the middle order on numerous occasions, particularly in the One Day International (ODI) format. This ability to bat in multiple positions serves as a testament to KL Rahul’s flexibility as a batsman.
While he is observant of the conditions and likes to bat with a careful approach in the Test and ODI formats of cricket, in the Twenty-20 format, KL Rahul is renowned for being an aggressive batsman who likes to hit the ball as soon as he arrives on the pitch. He has also received criticism for the difference in his approaches, with many experts opining that his overcautious nature in the longer formats of the game is what pulls him back from being as successful as he is in the T20 format. The player himself has been vocal about the strike rates of a batsman being overrated. According to Rahul, a batsman needs to assess the situation of a match and bat in tandem with the demands of the circumstances.
In addition to being a technically sound batsman, KL Rahul adds another dimension to his game, that of being a wicketkeeper. In the post-Mahendra Singh Dhoni era of the Indian cricket team, several players have taken on the mantle of wicketkeeping on numerous occasions. Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, Dinesh Karthik and KS Bharat (in Test cricket) have all been chosen by selectors and team management on a rotation basis. KL Rahul too is on that list. Now with Rishabh Pant out of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 owing to a near-fatal car accident (from which he is still recovering), the onus will invariably be on Rahul to do double duty as wicketkeeper and batsman going into the marquee quadrennial event.
So, as the wait for the commencement of the 2023 Cricket World Cup nears its end and preparations for the grandest sporting event on the calendar reach its eleventh hour, we take a look at KL Rahul’s career highlights, records, stats and more.
A close look at KL Rahul’s records and career highlights
His early days as an international cricketer
As a reward for his performances in the Indian domestic circuit, KL Rahul was named in the Indian Test squad for the Australian tour in 2014. He made his international debut in the Boxing Day Test of 2014 (which starts on December 26) at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. While he failed to score in double digits in his debut Test match, Rahul scored his maiden international century in the following match at Sydney (he scored 110 runs in that innings).
In recognition of his stellar performances on the Indian domestic circuit, KL Rahul earned a place in the Indian Test squad for the 2014 Australian tour. His international debut occurred during the Boxing Day Test of 2014, starting at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26. Despite a modest start with single-digit scores in his debut Test match, Rahul quickly redeemed himself by scoring his maiden international century in the subsequent match at Sydney, amassing a remarkable 110 runs during the innings.
Upon returning home from Australia, KL Rahul became Karnataka’s first triple centurion in first-class cricket as he played a knock of 337 runs against Uttar Pradesh in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy. Later in 2015, he scored his second Test century against Sri Lanka after he got an opportunity in the Indian side following Murali Vijay’s injury. During that match, India’s then-wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha also picked up an injury, and Rahul had to fill in his shoes as wicketkeeper.
In 2016, KL Rahul received a call-up to the Indian squad for the Zimbabwe tour, marking his debut in One Day Internationals (ODIs) against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club. Rahul made a resounding impact by scoring an unbeaten 100 from 115 deliveries, securing his maiden ODI century on debut and becoming the first Indian batsman to accomplish the feat. His T20 international debut also occurred during the same tour, but he experienced a less fortunate start, getting dismissed on the first ball.
However, it did not take long for Rahul to make his mark in the shortest format of the game as he scored his maiden T20 international century later that year against West Indies. Even though his valiant effort of 110 runs off 51 balls was not enough to win the match for India, KL Rahul became the first player to score a century in T20 internationals while batting at number four. He also achieved the feat of becoming the fastest cricketer to score centuries in all three formats of the game, a milestone that he reached in only his 20th international innings.
Ambati Rayudu’s Net Worth: His Annual Income, Assets, Career Highlights And More
Mohammed Siraj’s Net Worth: His Salary, Career Earnings, Stats And Records
KL Rahul’s rise through the ranks of international cricket
After a string of decent performances over the next few years, KL Rahul was named in the Indian squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. He played at the number four position in the first two matches but was promoted up the order to open the innings for the remainder of the tournament following Shikhar Dhawan’s injury which ruled the southpaw out of the World Cup. Rahul scored two fifties and a solitary hundred and finished the competition as India’s third-highest run-scorer with 361 runs, trailing only Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Even though his form dipped in Test cricket, forcing him out of the Test squad, KL Rahul continued to cement his position in white-ball cricket with consistent performances against West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia. In the 2019-20 New Zealand tour, for instance, Rahul was adjudged the Player of the Series in the T20 international series as he scored 224 runs in five matches at an impressive average of 56.
Making a comeback to the Test team
His impressive performances in white-ball cricket prompted Indian selectors to name KL Rahul in the Indian Test squad for the 2021 England tour. Owing to the injury of Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal, he opened the Indian batting with Rohit Sharma in the first test at Trent Bridge and scored 84 crucial runs in the first innings.
While his performance in the first test was considered by many to be a stroke of luck, KL Rahul shut his critics up with a magnificent innings of 129 runs in the second test at the hallowed Lords stadium to clinch the Player of the Match title. In the four Test matches that India played in England that summer, Rahul scored 315 runs and was India’s second-highest run-scorer for the tour, only trailing his fellow opening partner Rohit Sharma.
Vice-captaincy, inconsistent form and a comeback to the Indian squad
Following the change in captaincy of the Indian team in 2021, KL Rahul was appointed the vice-captain of the Indian cricket team as Rohit Sharma became India’s full-time captain in limited-overs cricket. He was also named the vice-captain of the Indian test team for the South Africa tour after Rohit Sharma was ruled out due to an injury. In the first Test match of the series, Rahul scored a century.
The second Test match of the South Africa tour saw KL Rahul become the 34th Indian captain in Test cricket. Despite him scoring a half-century, Rahul could not lead his side to a win. India eventually ended up losing the series to the Proteas.
Following the South Africa tour of 2021-22, the Indian batsman went through a series of injuries and inconsistent performances which made it difficult for him to retain his position in the national side. The Board of Control for Cricket in India sacked KL Rahul from Test vice-captaincy in February 2023 owing to his patchy form across formats and struggles with injuries.
KL Rahul made a comeback to the Indian ODI side at the 2023 Asia Cup. In the Super Four stage of the tournament, he scored a glittering century against Pakistan and with Virat Kohli as his partner-in-crime, guided India to a win by a mammoth 228-run margin. Rahul’s recent exploits have also earned him a place in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, scheduled to commence on October 5.
KL Rahul’s stats in the IPL
KL Rahul made his debut in IPL 2013 with the Royal Challengers Bangalore as a wicketkeeper-batsman. Following a stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Bengaluru-based outfit for a second time in his career, Rahul was picked by the Kings XI Punjab (now rebranded as Punjab Kings) in the 2018 IPL Auction. In the Punjab-based team’s first match of the 2018 season, the Indian batsman scored the then-fastest half-century in IPL’s history, reaching the milestone in just 14 deliveries. Rahul finished the season as the third-highest run-scorer with 659 runs at an average of 54.91.
KL Rahul scored his maiden century in the IPL in 2019 against the Mumbai Indians (100 runs off 64 balls). He finished the season as the second-highest run-scorer of the tournament with 593 runs, trailing only David Warner (who scored 692 runs). In December 2019, KL Rahul was named the captain of the Punjab-based side for the 2020 season.
On September 24, 2020, KL Rahul scored an unbeaten 132 off 69 balls against his former team, Royal Challengers Bangalore. By virtue of that knock, he created the record for the highest score by an Indian in an IPL match. In addition, Rahul also broke the record for the most runs scored by a captain in an IPL game. The Indian batsman ended the season with 670 runs, the most by any batsman in the tournament that year, and won the Orange Cap (awarded to the leading run-scorer of the tournament).
Prior to the 2022 season of the IPL, KL Rahul parted ways with the Punjab Kings and was picked up by the Lucknow Super Giants as their captain. In his 100th IPL match, KL Rahul scored his first century for the Lucknow-based team. He also scripted the record for being the only player to score a ton in the 100th IPL game of his career. Under his leadership, Lucknow Super Giants made it to the playoffs of the IPL in 2022.
Cricket Controversies: The Most Shocking Dismissals In History
Summing up KL Rahul’s career stats and achievements
As of September 2023, KL Rahul has a total of 15 international centuries to his name― seven in Test cricket, six in ODIs and two in T20 internationals. He remains the only Indian player to date to score a century on his ODI debut. KL Rahul wears the number one on the back of his jersey for the Indian cricket team. He has also been a part of the Indian cricket team that won the Asia Cup in 2018 and 2023, both under the astute leadership of Rohit Sharma.
In January 2023, KL Rahul got married to his long-time partner Athiya Shetty, daughter of Indian actor Sunil Shetty.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– What records has KL Rahul made?
KL Rahul holds the record of being the only Indian to date to score a century in his ODI debut. He also holds the record of being the first player in T20 internationals to score a century batting at number four or lower. In IPL, KL Rahul holds the record for the highest score by an Indian and any captain in an IPL match.
– What is the ICC ranking of KL Rahul?
As of September 2023, KL Rahul holds the 62nd spot in Test cricket, 39th spot in ODIs and 43rd in T20 internationals for batsmen, as per the ICC rankings.
– What is the highest score of KL Rahul in the IPL?
KL Rahul’s highest score in the IPL is 132 not out against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2020.
(Main and Featured Images Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@KL Rahul)