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'If you give others a long rope, why can't we give KL Rahul' - Sunil Gavaskar backs under-fire Indian opener

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Sep 01, 2022, 06:25 PM IST
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Photograph:(Agencies)

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Former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar has backed Indian vice-captain KL Rahul to come good as he struggles with his form at the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 edition in the UAE.

KL Rahul had a forgettable outing for Team India in their second game in the Asia Cup 2022 edition, where they locked horns with Hong Kong at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai. On Wednesday evening (August 31), Rohit Sharma-led India locked horns with the minnows and rode on Suryakumar Yadav's 26-ball 68 not out and Virat Kohli's 59* to post 192-2 before restricting Hong Kong for 152-5 to win by 40 runs. While it was a fine outing for the Men in Blue, vice-captain Rahul was heavily criticised for his abysmal 39-ball 36.

Rahul, returning to international cricket during the Zimbabwe series last month, struggled to open his account and was dismissed for a golden duck versus Pakistan in defending champions India's Asia Cup opener. Versus Hong Kong, he opened with captain Rohit and fell on the last ball of the 13th over, after stitching a handy 54-run stand with Virat Kohli, before his dismissal. The right-hander hit only two fours in his innings. Thus, many slammed Rahul on social media and some former cricketers also had few words to say about his struggles.

Former Indian opener-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar came to Rahul's support after the Hong Kong tie. Speaking to India Today, he said, "I think KL Rahul is a class act. With the kind of performance he has had over the years for India... if you give others a long rope, why can't we give KL Rahul a long rope? He is your vice-captain as well. You give him a long rope because we have all seen what he is capable of in the T20 format."

"He is coming back from an injury, so that rhythm is not quite there but the rhythm will come and when it comes, it will be devastating for the opposition," he added.

On the other hand, former off-spinner Pragyan Ojha said, "He brings experience. He just needs a couple of games and he will be back. He has been there and done that. I am not too concerned because others are doing well and the team is winning. This will rub off on him.

"He is just one knock away from finding his form. The shots that he played, he timed them well. He was not struggling for timing. I felt he was timing them well. So I think he's just there and it's a matter of time," he further asserted.