Indian cricketer KL Rahul extended his good form as he made a scintillating half-century against New Zealand to help India win the first NZ vs IND T20I at Auckland. In a surprising turn of events, KL Rahul has also been appointed by Virat Kohli as the primary wicketkeeper for the team instead of Rishabh Pant. India will take on New Zealand at the same venue on Sunday for the second T20I.
KL Rahul donned the wicketkeeping gloves for Team India after Rishabh Pant was concussed in the first ODI versus Australia at Mumbai earlier this month. While Rahul was keeping as a backup for Pant, a surprising turn of events occurred when Rahul continued to be the keeper even after the Delhiite was fit to play. Later, skipper Virat Kohli revealed that playing KL Rahul as a keeper allowed him to play an extra batsman in the squad. On Friday, Rahul solidified his place further when he led the Indian chase with his fifty and kept well.
In the post-match press conference, Rahul talked about his appreciation for the wicketkeeping role that he has been given in the Indian team. Rahul clarified that he is not a strange to wicketkeeping as he had been keeping wickets for the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and even Karnataka in domestic cricket. Rahul added that being the wicket-keeper helps him understand the pitch better and convey his insights to the captain and the bowlers.
He also mentioned that knowing the pitch helps him in chasing a total down if the team is batting second. Rahul scored 56 off 27 balls in Friday's T20 international against New Zealand in Auckland while opening the batting. In December 2019, he was also appointed as the new captain of the Kings XI Punjab for IPL 2020.