KL Rahul has made his first appearance as Lucknow Super Giants captain for IPL 2022. Lucknow are one of the two new teams alongside Ahmedabad to be inducted in the IPL sphere from the next season.
Lucknow has picked up Rahul, Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi in the pre-draft. KL Rahul was roped in for a record INR 17 crore, while they also landed Marcus Stoinis and Ravi Bishnoi for INR 9.2 crore, and INR 4 crore, respectively.
Rahul, who has seen Bishnoi from close quarters in the last two IPL, has explained why the franchise chose to rope in the young spinner ahead of seasoned customer like Yuzvendra Chahal. Labelling Bishnoi as the next big thing in Indian cricket, KL Rahul said to TOI:
“He has a lot of fight in him. That’s something that stood out from the first game of the IPL that he played, coming off an under-19 World Cup. IPL is a big stage and it didn’t seem like the occasion got the better of him.”
“He wanted to be in a fight. He was bowling against Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer and they are really good players of spin, so I threw him the ball and said, “This is gonna be tough.” He said, “No, it doesn’t matter, I’ll get them out.” That’s the kind of attitude he has. For a little guy he has huge heart.”
After impressing the in the U-19 World Cup, Ravi Bishnoi has grown in stature in the IPL. In 23 games so far, the 21-year-old has scalped 24 wickets at an economy rate of below 7.
“Marcus is a very committed player and is a brilliant team man” – KL Rahul
The 29-year-old batsman also heaped praise on the Australian all-rounder, who plied trade for Delhi Capitals in the last season. KL Rahul stated that Stoinis is a brilliant cricketer, who can chip in with useful contributions.
“The idea behind (picking) Stoinis and Bishnoi is very simple. When you are trying to get three retentions, you want to get three pillars sorted. You have an opening batter in me, you have an all-rounder in Stoinis, who can bat No. 5-6,” KL Rahul said.
“We’ve seen that in Big Bash, he has opened as well. He’s a very flexible player. He gives you a sixth bowling option as well. Marcus is a very committed player and is a brilliant team man,” he concluded.