Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha feels Kings XI Punjab Captain KL Rahul is not playing like his usual self and has been burdened under the pressure of a rather fragile middle-order of his team in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League. On Thursday, KXIP suffered their fifth defeat of the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and the lack of experience was visible in their batting line-up.
“Last game, and this game also we saw that KL Rahul was not comfortable, the way he was batting. Previously we have seen he just went out, he batted the way he wanted to, pure magic. But the last two games, I don’t know he was not there,” Ojha told Sports Today.
Rahul is batting well so far in the tournament and is firmly holding his claim on the orange cap with 313 runs in six outings. He is scoring runs at a strike rate of 136.68 but his powerplay strike rate (113.3) is a spot of concern for the team management.
“I think he was just trying to play because he knew that the middle order is not doing well, that pressure and this game you know when you have over 200 runs to chase, any batsman would feel the pressure. And Rahul knows that if he and Mayank don’t do well, they have a fragile middle order. Anil Kumble mentioned Chris Gayle, they wanted him to play but he was not well,” Ojha further said.
Glenn Maxwell has failed to share the burden off Rahul’s shoulder. The Australia all-rounder has managed just 48 runs in six matches and struggled to find his rhythm. There were expectations of him to replicate his heroics from the previous edition but another low score on Thursday has put his place in jeopardy.
“The message was very clear that they were not happy with Maxwell. It’s a clear statement if Chris Gayle walks in, Maxwell walks out. KXIP have been unlucky but KL Rahul was not the ‘KL’ that we have seen so far,” Ojha concluded.