Time we transform our white-ball cricket: KL Rahul after SA ODIs Photograph:( AFP )
KL Rahul-led India were whitewashed in the just-concluded three ODIs versus South Africa, in the African nation. Rahul feels India's white-ball cricket needs a transformation at the earliest.
Team India ended their disastrous tour of South Africa on Sunday (January 23). While Virat Kohli-led India were 1-0 up after winning the tour opener, i.e. the Centurion Test, everything went downhill from thereon. Kohli & Co. lost the Test series 2-1 and went onto be whitewashed by the Temba Bavuma-led South Africa in the preceding ODIs.
In limited-overs captain Rohit Sharma's absence, KL Rahul led the Men in Blue in the three ODIs. Under Rahul, India remained winless by putting up a listless performance in the 50-over leg. After the tour, Rahul believes India have done many things right in the limited-overs formats in the last few years but their white-ball cricket needs a transformation right now.
Rahul told Sports Today in an exclusive chat, "It's a huge honour and it's a dream come true to represent my country and lead my country. Yes, the results didn't go our way but I think there were massive learning. We are at a stage right now where we have World Cups as the focus and we are working towards getting better as a team. I feel like we have played very good cricket over the last four or five years but it's also time for us to get better and transform our white-ball cricket."
During the three ODIs, Rahul's captaincy was heavily criticised. The 29-year-old's field settings and bowling changes were ineffective, when compared to his South African counterpart Bavuma. The star Indian batter has also not had much success as an IPL captain. Nonetheless, Rahul remains undeterred and feels he is learning and will only get better.
"I don't use that as an excuse for not winning, but I think we are a work in progress as a team. I learned so much while leading. Losses make you so much stronger than starting off with victories. My career has always been that way. I have always got everything slowly. I am confident in my leadership skills and I know that I can bring out the best from my players. I know I can do well for my country and franchise," Rahul added.
After the SA tour, India will prepare for their home season, which starts with a limited-overs series versus Kieron Pollard-led West Indies. It will be followed by two Tests and three T20Is versus Sri Lanka before the action moves to the IPL 2022 edition. It will be interesting to see if Rohit-led India come out with a new approach in the white-ball formats after the SA drubbing.